Malaysia, this year’s Official Partner Country of ITB Berlin, showcased an energetic and colourful cultural performance to an audience of about 3,000 international trade visitors and media attending the Official Opening Ceremony of the event.
The performance, entitled “Colours of Malaysia” was an apt reflection of the country’s diverse population and culture, showcasing the varied layers, stories and cultures that make up Malaysia. The Istana Budaya (Palace of Culture) dance troupe performed on-stage in colourful outfits and mesmerising music, showcasing dance traditions from the Malay, Indian, Chinese, Arab, folk, Sabah and Sarawak communities.
Despite such differences in culture, beliefs and traditions, Malaysia remains a harmonious and peaceful nation, one that saw 25.8 million tourists visiting its shores last year. Next year, it is targeting 30 million tourist arrivals with the implementation of the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign.
Promotional efforts during ITB Berlin will focus on ecotourism and cultural attractions such as birdwatching in Putrajaya, Sky Mirror in Selangor, Danum Valley in Sabah, heritage trails in Sarawak, the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Penang, and the new integrated destination attraction of Desaru Coast.
The Malaysia Healthcare Tourism Council is also here to promote Malaysia as a high quality yet affordable healthcare destination with plans for more public-private partnerships to grow the niche sector. Meanwhile, the rest of the Malaysia delegation totalling 136 participants representing 83 organisations, including Malaysia Airlines, Malaysia Airports will also play a part in promoting the destination at ITB Berlin.
Culture is also one of Malaysia’s biggest draws, and besides the show-stopping performance at the opening ceremony tonight, there are other cultural experiences that Malaysia will highlight during ITB Berlin including an exhibition of heirloom pieces of hand-embroidered head scarves and the unique accessories of the Ring Ladies of Sarawak.
In his speech during the Official Opening Ceremony of ITB Berlin 2019, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi said that Malaysia would continue to work closely with industry partners in this region through airline and tour operator partnerships, tactical campaigns, workshops, familiarization trips and seminars. One of the key goals was to increase air accessibility to Malaysia.
He added, “Our main focus is to strengthen our economy and develop better policies to attract good investments for the nation to prosper. I encourage you to consider Malaysia as your ideal partner for your tourism growth and business expansion and look forward to seeing more tourism investments in Malaysia.”