MANILA, PHILIPPINES -- The tourism sector in Asia is one of the most profitable industries as of late – and the second session of the Asia In My Pocket series highlighted this particular industry to provide more insight into this booming industry. The inflows of tourists in the region are not only of traditional tourists who wish to relax and unwind, but there is also an increase in business travellers. Because of the rising middle-class in numerous Asian countries, budget airlines coming out left and right, and with the popular marketing of Asian tourism that is becoming known worldwide – there has been an increase in demand for travel within the region. For the second session, Asia Society invited three key players in Asia’s tourism industry – Malaysia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
Tourism Malaysia’s representative Mr. Nizham Eshak discussed the key aspects of Malaysia’s tourism boom. He noted that it is their beautiful culture, multi cultural and multi racial acceptance, tourist friendly attitude, safety precautions, diversity and favorable climate that tourists are attracted to. Malaysia is the world’s 2nd most visited country in Asia after China and holds the 9th position globally. To add to that, Malaysia is the 20th safest and most peaceful country in the world. Mr. Eshak introduced some of Malaysia’s premiere attractions like Kidzania, Legoland, Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park, and Johor Premium Outlets. They also plan on including more attractions in Malaysia for this year.
Second Secretary of the Sri Lankan embassy here in Manila, Ms. Ruwani Cooray, then introduced the beautiful country of Sri Lanka to the audience. Complete with materials and a history of the country, a lot of the participants at the event were interested in the rich culture and tourist attractions that are inherent in Sri Lanka. Ms. Cooray then stressed how several companies have started to invest in their country especially in terms of real estate. In addition, she mentioned the role of infrastructure and great relationships with other countries as key factors to a successful tourism industry.
As for the Philippines, Director and Head for Domestic Promotions Cynthia Lazo of the Department of Tourism talked about developing and marketing competitive tourist products and destinations for the country. There is a need to improve market access, connectivity and destination infrastructure as well as institutional governance and human resources. She said that the investment opportunities lie mainly on those who want to invest in providing infrastructure and developments in real estate like hotels, etc. She believes that there is a great gap to be filled in terms of number of expected tourists and the number of available rooms.
In the end, the speakers through their dynamic presentations and materials showed the attendees how highlighting the unique features of one’s country and presenting it with great pride and love for country contributes to a successful promotion. The audience left the session convinced that tourism is indeed a lucrative sector and things are looking great for this industry as backed up by the statistics and impressive marketing strategies presented in this session.
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