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Culture and tourism the ‘perfect marriage’

Media Release

Culture and tourism the ‘perfect marriage’

AUCKLAND June 17 2013 – The merging of culture and tourism is the perfect marriage, says Malaysia’s Minister of Tourism and Culture, Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

In New Zealand as part of a global campaign to attract more foreign visitors to Malaysia, Nazri says his country’s diverse cultures enhance the country’s competitiveness and attractiveness as a travel destination.

Malaysia’s 5th ranking politician, Nazri has just taken on the Tourism and Culture portfolio following recent general elections. He takes the helm of a sector which earned Malaysia RM60.6 billion (NZ$24.24 billion) last year.

Later today he will meet with Prime Minister and Tourism Minister, the Right Honourable John Key, and address travel wholesalers and agents. He will also take time to gain insights into Maori culture at Auckland War Memorial Museum and Te Puia Maori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua.

Through the 2014 campaign, which has the theme ‘Celebrating 1 Malaysia Truly Asia’, Malaysia aims to attract 28 million visitors next year and generate revenue of Malaysia RM76 billion.

“Like New Zealand, where experiencing your Maori culture is a unique proposition for tourists, we know a major draw card is our melting pot of people and cultures that includes Malay, Chinese, Indian and the traditional tribes inhabiting the Sabah and Sarawak regions,” Nazri says.

Malaysia aims to attract 86,000 New Zealand visitors next year through the campaign, an increase of 30 per cent on figures for 2012, the most recent statistics available.

New Zealand is an important market for Malaysia and has great potential for growth, Nazri says.

“There are close historical and current ties between our two countries, including the warm friendship between our two Prime Ministers. Added to this there are the many young Malaysian students who come to New Zealand to study and there is an increasingly vibrant Malaysian business community here too.

“This coupled with Kiwis’ appetite for overseas travel and adventure, makes Malaysia a dream-come-true destination,” he says. “Very shortly there will be a range of specially priced holiday options available to appeal across the board – from budget-minded backpackers to people seeking luxury escapes at reasonable prices.

“And for families looking at a holiday in the region there will be packages including our new Legoland attraction in Johor – just 45 minutes from downtown Singapore. “

As part of tonight’s promotion to the travel industry that will sell these packages, Nazri, together with Tourism Malaysia’s Director General Mizra Mohammad Taiyab and the New Zealand Director Zalina Ahmad, hosts a gala evening showcasing some of Malaysia’s varied culture through cuisine, music and dance performed by a troupe travelling with the Malaysian delegation.

Cultural tourism is one of the largest and fastest-growing tourism sectors globally, Nazri says, frequently opening up new business and job opportunities in communities within a country and often in remote regions.

“Cultural tourism not only makes for enjoyable experiences for visitors, but also creates greater understanding among different peoples and enriches the life experiences of the residents, renewing their pride in their heritage and their desire to preserve it.”

Nazri says visitors to Malaysia are often surprised to find all of Asia’s ethnic groups living together in harmony. One of the visual expressions of this acceptance of each other’s cultures and creeds is the close proximity in many areas of mosques, temples and churches.

“Our rich cultural mix expresses itself through dance, music, crafts, cuisine, languages and lifestyles and Visit Malaysia Year 2014 will offer travellers a special chance to experience this wonderful diversity… and a raft of other opportunities sure to strike a chord with adventurous, sports-minded and food loving Kiwis.”
More than 100 special events will be staged in Malaysia next year. For high thrills on wheels there is the Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix (March 21-23) and for high thrills on heels there is the Malaysia International Shoe Festival (April 4-6) or the Penang Shoe Festival (April 26). A month later (May 25) the Colours of Malaysia mega-extravaganza celebrates Malaysia’s multiple cultures in grand parades and colourful shows, with another mega celebration on August 31 to mark National Day to commemorate the 1957 independence from British rule.

Through the year there is much to appeal to foodies (e.g. the May 1-4 festival in honour of the sweetly succulent mango and the three-month long Fabulous Food Malaysia programme October 1-December 31), the culturally minded, the sports-minded, adventure seekers, fans of the outdoors and all things animal, bird, plant and eco…harvest and music festivals, marathons and cycle races, yachting challenges and golf tournaments, religious and arts celebrations, fishing competitions and back to shopping, with all those sales every few months, it would seem!

Added to this, Malaysia will next year host an array of international conventions, conferences and meetings. Among them are the International Convention of Toastmasters International, the Malaysia International Jewellery Fair, the International Beauty Expo, the Health & Fitness Sports Expo Incorporate Outdoor Adventure, ITEX 25th International Invention, Innovation & Technology Exhibition, Cybersec Asia 2014, the 9th Malaysia International Dive Expo (MIDE) and the Asia Pacific Regional Congress of the International Federation of Landscape Architects.

For further details visit www.tourismmalaysia.gov.my

Malaysia’s Minister of Tourism and Culture, Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, presents a pewter picture to New Zealand Prime Minister and Tourism Minister, the Right Honourable John Key, during his visit to New Zealand to promote the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 campaign.  Nazri, the 5th ranking Malaysia’s 5th ranking politician, has just taken on the Tourism and Culture portfolio following recent general elections in Malaysia.  The tourism sector earned Malaysia RM60.6 billion (NZ$24.24 billion) last year. 

ENDS

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