Tourism Malaysia is a statutory body established under the Malaysian Tourism Board Act 1992 with the objective to promote Malaysia as a preferred tourist destination. It is entrusted with the task to increase the number of tourist arrivals through the many colourful events and activities, simultaneously inspiring and developing the domestic and convention market.
Recognizing the importance of tourism as one of the principal foreign exchange earners as well as a major source of employment opportunities, the Government has placed great emphasis on tourism product development by continuously upgrading the quality of existing products as well as developing new products to capture a bigger share of the world tourism market. In this regard, a vast array of tourism products has and will continue to be offered to cater for the diverse interests and demands of tourists.
Meetings, incentives conventions and Exhibitions
During 2003, Malaysia played host to several international conventions and exhibitions, namely the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit conference (20-25 Feb); the Organisation of Islamic Conferences (OIC) (11-18 Oct); Langkawi International Maritime Exhibition (LIMA) (30th Sep-5th Oct); and the ASEAN Ministers for Culture and Arts (AMCA) Meet (13-14 Oct). The year 2004 will see Malaysia playing host to more international conventions and seminars. These include the Inaugural Commonwealth Tourism Ministers' Meet (18-21 March) and the Global Meet & Experience 2004 to be held from 5 to 11 September.
The increase in the number of institutions of higher learning and twinning programmes with foreign universities provided the foundation for the growth in education tourism. Currently, over 40,000 foreign students have registered with institutions of higher learning in the country (50,000 foreign students targeted for 2005). Education tourism has become popular as reflected by the demand for tours to visit schools to enable students from other countries to gain knowledge of the school education system as well as experience the Malaysian schools atmosphere, which is unique with the social interaction of the various ethnic groups.
Events & Festivals
Malaysia has embarked on a number of friendly and highly specialised campaigns through the hosting of selected major world-class events such as Formula One - Malaysian Grand Prix and the Golf Travel Mart 2003 and World Cup Golf 1999. In addition, our annual calendar of events showcases more than 600 interesting year-round attractions.
A two-year extensive domestic campaign called Cuti-Cuti Malaysia, first introduced in 1999, was re-launched on 17 February 2004. This two-year campaign from 2004 to 2005 is aimed at stimulating domestic tourism.
Malaysians of all walks of life celebrate a variety of festivals throughout the year because Malaysians of different faiths and beliefs place a great deal of importance on their respective religious festivals. The best known are Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Eid Mubarak), Deepavali, Christmas and the Iban harvest festival of Gawai and the Kadazandusun Kaamatan.
The tourism sector will assume an even greater role in stimulating the growth of the Malaysian economy during the Eighth Malaysia Plan (2001-2005). Tourist arrivals are expected to grow at an average rate of 6.9 per cent per annum to reach 14.3 million by 2005. Tourism receipts are targeted to grow at an average annual rate of 9.5 per cent to reach RM29.5 billion (USD 8 billion) in 2005. To achieve the target, the Government will continue to undertake more effective tourism promotion efforts together with the national carrier, Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia as well as tour agencies.