By Roy Lie Atjam
Selamat Datang Tourism Malaysia event. The Embassy of Malaysia and the Marketing Manager of Benelux Tourism Malaysia arranged a networking reception in connection with the reopening of the borders. The MC for the day was Ms Naziha Kechouh of the Cultural Affairs Department and Marketing Manager Benelux (Tourism Malaysia).
The events was attracted a good number of vocational persons, travel agencies, tour operators, airlines as KLM, Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Turkish Airlines and others. The venue, the prestigious Chancellery of Malaysia in The Hague, 12 May 2022.
H.E. Ambassador of Malaysia Mrs. Nadzirah Osman presented the welcome remarks. A slate of speakers followed.
The Director of Tourism Malaysia The Hague, Ms. Rosbi Mamat gave an update on the post-Covid 19 situation. Next was Ms. Iris van Wijhe of Dutch Productions, a frequent visitor of Malaysia. She is full of enthusiasm about her recent tour of Malaysia.
Mr. Rob Harting, the proprietor of Distant Greens Golfing Holidays, recounted personal experiences of his many pleasant visits to Malaysia. Mr. Gerald van Amerongen, founder and proprietor of DMC Happy Trails Asia, concluded the list of speakers with an elaborated presentation about why one should visit Malaysia.
Ambassador Nadzirah Osman in her welcome talk stated the following: “The last two years have been an extremely challenging and difficult period not only for the Malaysian tourism sector but also for the tourism industry worldwide. In 2020, only 14,486 Dutch tourists visited Malaysia, a sharp decrease of 82.4% compared to 2019 where we received 82,110 Dutch tourists.
In 2021, the numbers declined further as expected, as the country was still closed to foreign travellers due to the pandemic. The reopening of Malaysian borders via the Langkawi International Travel Bubble as of 15 November 2021, was the first step in reopening the country’s tourism sector.
The statistics for this pilot project showed that the Dutch people are eager to travel again to Malaysia. We are indeed pleased that the Netherlands ranked 13th out of 105 countries for tourist arrivals for the Langkawi pilot project. Considering the fact that the Netherlands’ population is relatively small as compared to other countries in the top 10, it clearly reflects the importance of the Dutch market for Malaysia.”
“Malaysia has fully reopened its borders to all international visitors since April 1, 2022. We have been working very hard for the past two years to prepare ourselves for this moment and we are eager and excited to reintroduce Malaysia to the world.
Everything is now in place for us to welcome international visitors, newcomers and regulars alike. We hope to attract 2 million international tourists this year and we hope to see Dutch tourists returning to Malaysia in big numbers.”
“The Netherlands was the top fourth largest contributor for tourist arrivals in Malaysia from Europe after United Kingdom, Germany and France, pre COVID 19. We are confident with a joint effort between the Malaysian Tourism Office here and all of you present today, we will be able to see it materialised.
We look forward to any possible partnership opportunities and business networking. So why should Malaysia be the Dutch preferred destination? The answer to that is because we are not only home to one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems but we can offer, plethora of activities, that can cater for everyone from all ages and with different interest. We not only have exciting nature and adventure travel but also the diversity of culture that clearly reflects Malaysia as a melting pot of Asia.
We have various new sustainable and responsible tourism attractions, such as the Habitat on Penang Hill which was officially designated as Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO on 15 September 2021.
We are currently emphasising more on ecotourism which I am sure will receive positive response from tourists who want to travel and reconnect with nature for recreation.”
“With your support, we hope to promote Malaysia as a safe and preferred holiday destination and to increase the visibility of Malaysia Truly Asia branding here in the Netherlands. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our tourism partners and stakeholders for your support and cooperation. I hope you will have a fruitful networking session”
As we now know, as of 1 April 2022, the covid 19 restrictions on entering Malaysia have been lifted. Malaysia is open for business, ready to welcome the thousands of tourists to her beautiful beaches and historical sites and enjoy her incomparable hospitality.
Malaysia is expecting to attract millions of tourists this year a substantial number will be Dutch.
“Malaysia, Truly Asia” There is only one place where all the fragrances, sounds, colours, flavours and sights of Asia merge, Malaysia.