Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wants Visit Malaysia 2020 to be accepted as a national mission for every citizen with the role of attracting international tourists.
The Prime Minister said through the campaign, the government is targeting to achieve 30 million international tourists and RM100 billion revenue in the tourism sector.
Speaking before some 80,000 visitors in conjunction with Ambang 2020@Kuala Lumpur celebration and the launching of VM2020, he said the tourism sector is an industry capable of involving all strata of the community and is not limited to only those involved directly.
“Its spill over effect is very wide and the people can choose to be involved according to their capability, creativity and taste,” said the Prime Minister.
The 2020 New Year Eve celebration and launch of VM2020 was organised jointly by three ministries namely Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry, Federal Territories Ministry and the Communications and Multimedia Ministry was also attended by the Prime Minister’s wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Cabinet ministers.
Dr Mahathir said VM2020 is aimed at strengthening the tourism industry which has proven to be major contributor to the country with its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) last year increasing by 15.2 per cent to RM220.6 billion compared to 14.6 per cent worth RM201.4 billion in 2017.
In terms of employment for locals, he said the tourism industry remained competitive and last year, manpower in the industry rose 4.9 per cent to 3.5 million people and it contributes 23.5 per cent to the overall manpower in the country compared to 22.9 per cent in 2017.
For 2019, Dr Mahathir said the performance of the country tourism industry from January to September showed very encourage effects with foreign tourists arrivals growing by 3.7 per cent to 20.11 million people compared to 19.39 million in 2018.
The foreign tourism expenditure for the same period, he said also showed a 6.9 per cent increase amounting to RM66.14 billion compared to RM61.85 billion for the same period in 2018.
“I have studied the statistics to see how big is the potential of the tourism industry as it continues expand every year,” he said.
The Prime Minister said Malaysia is very lucky in 2020 as Malaysia has been chosen to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2020 with the theme ‘Optimising Human Potential Towards a Future of Shared Prosperity’.
“I am confident we could be a good host especially when we are known for the Malaysian Hospitality.
“What I have mentioned is just a small percentage of what we have planned for 2020 and there are many more events and programmes to be implemented.
“I believe the people also share the hope of the government in wishing for all the programmes we have prepared to be successful,” said Dr Mahathir.
Earlier, the government via Budget 2020 announced an allocation of RM90 million, specially to raise awareness, promotion and programmes in conjunction with the campaign.
This is the fifth campaign of Visit Malaysia Year with the theme “Visit Truly Asia Malaysia 2020” which used a logo inspired by Malaysian batik which highlighted various national icons such as the hornbill, hibiscus, wild ferns and the colours of the national flag.
The Visit Malaysia Year campaign was first held in 1990 with the theme “Fascinating Malaysia” followed by the second edition in 1994 themed “Fascinating Malaysia – Naturally More” and the third edition in 2007 themed “Celebrating 50 Years of Nationhood” while the fourth was launched in 2014 with the slogan “Celebrating 1Malaysia Truly Asia”.