BANGKOK 12 February 2018: Tourism Malaysia entertained media and travel agents with awards and lucky draws at its annual Malaysia Appreciation Night at a riverside hotel in Bangkok last Thursday.
Tourism Malaysia deputy chairman, Dato’ Zainol Abidin Omar, highlighted the national campaign ‘Visit Malaysia 2020’, which was launched at the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2018 last month Chiang Mai.
Subsequently, the official logo of Visit Malaysia 2020, was lambasted by thousands of Malaysian neitzens on Facebook and other social media channels.
Commenting on the two-year build-up to the Visit Year, Dato’ Zainol Abidin Omar said, “These next two years are a crucial period for our country’s tourism – they are the lead up to the much-anticipated Visit Malaysia 2020. By then, we expect to welcome some 36 million tourists to our shores with tourist receipts reaching RM168 billion.”
Visit Malaysia 2020 is a landmark initiative that received the support and endorsement of the Prime Minister.
“It is a key development towards the realisation of the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan goals that by the year 2020,” the deputy chairman said.
However, it has received mixed reviews from Malaysians who were highly critical of the logo and glitzy promotions.
Travel agents and media attending the “appreciation” party appeared to be unaware of the adverse response to Visit 2020 in Malaysia as they were given plaques, awards and free airline tickets in a lucky draw.
The campaign will be aligned with World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)’s “Travel.Enjoy.Respect” movement launched in August 2017, which calls for tourists to become a catalyst for positive change towards a better future. It will also underscore the hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2020.
The deputy chairman stood in for the Minister of Tourism, who was conspicuous by his absence, probably because he was prominently identified as the host on the invitations requesting travel agents and media to attend.