Langkawi is the largest island among an archipelago of 99 off the coast of Malaysia, so it was no surprise that this beautiful island was a venue for Visit Malaysia’s Aeromeet 2013, a bringing together of operators and agents from around the world. The island attracted 800,000 international visitors last year and is planning to hit the ‘magic million’ soon, reports Michael Flood.
The eight-day event is a travel trade meet organised for the Americas, Europe and Oceania (AERO) markets to introduce Malaysia’s tourism products and attractions. It aims to reinforce Malaysia’s tourism promotions in these markets, besides establishing a stronger tie with its foreign travel trade partners.
“The event is actually an enhancement of last year’s Euromeet 2012 that focused only on the European market. In line with the celebration of Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) in 2014, we aim to boost tourist arrivals from the Americas, Europe and Oceania markets in order to achieve our target of 28 million tourists next year,” said the Director General of Tourism Malaysia, Dato’ Mirza Mohammad Taiyab.
The event was a well-balanced programme of business and social, with the delegates having a day-long workshop, with a series of 10-minute appointments to meet with more than 56 of the main Malaysian suppliers.
The Chairman of Langkawi Development Authority (LADA), Tan Sri Khalid Ramli officially opened the event. The opening was followed by a fascinating presentation on niche tourism products by the leading naturalist, Irshad Mobarak, who said that he always wanted to be like David Bellamy and that there are 34 of the world’s Biological Hotspots in ‘Sundaland’, with Langkawi being home to many of them.
Irshad is a true professional in his field and his passion for his subject is palable. He is of Irish extraction and can trace his ancestry back to his great great grandfather, a Hogan from Cork, who emigrated to Penang to work for the East India Company, married a Portuguese lady from Malacca, and settled in Malaysia.