TOUR DE FORCE OF MALAYSIAN TOURISM 马来西亚旅游业的精心杰作

Dato’ Mirza Mohammad Taiyab

Director General of Tourism Malaysia

Dato’ Mirza Mohammad Taiyab is a driving force behind the country’s rapidly growing tourism industry today, and it all stemmed from a youthful penchant for visiting new places, seeing amazing sights and experiencing different cultures.

The current Director General of Tourism Malaysia has spent most of his professional career promoting the Malaysia brand and enticing people all over the world to visit this vibrant multi-cultural nation. It was a path chosen long ago.

Growing up in the small town of Bagan Serai in Perak’s northern Kerian district, he was a member of the scout movement and would often go for camping trips and cycling excursions. His parents also frequently travelled around the country, and took him along.

“I developed an interest for travelling and nature, and that gave me an idea of what kind of profession I would choose after finishing school. I wanted something to do with travel,” he recalls.

Upon completion of his Senior Cambridge, he pursued his tertiary studies at UiTM, earning a Diploma in Tourism Administration, followed by a Degree then Masters in Business Administration.

He started off with a short stint as a contract manager of a motor trading company, before joining the then Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) in 1982 as an assistant director in its develoment and project management division.

Mirza then served as Director of the corporation’s Frankfurt office in Germany, overseeing promotional activities in Europe, followed by a similar posting as director of the Tokyo office in Japan. After 14 years in these posts, he was elevated to Director of the International Promotion Division.

He became Deputy Director General of Tourism Malaysia in 2004, and finally Director General in 2006. In all, he has served under 7 Tourism Ministers, and seen a paradigm shift in global travel and hospitality trends.

“When I started, the industry was very Euro-centric, and most tourists came from Europe or Australia. Back then, China, India or ASEAN countries weren’t regarded as a major source of tourism.”

“Things have since changed, and tourism today is very regional, with ASEAN now the focus. And Malaysia, being centrally located, gets a lot of interest from Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Thailand and also China. “

“The brand is everything. We have added value to the name by adding ‘Truly Asia’ 15 years ago, to tell the world they can find a little sample of the continent, in Malaysia – a place where diverse peoples practice their own cultures and lifestyles, all living together in harmony and building the country.”

The country on track to achieve its target of 36 million tourists by 2020 under the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Programme, and hopes to generate RM168billion in revenue, more than double the current figure.

“When it comes to value of services, from hotels to shopping and food and beverage, Malaysia is one of the most attractive places in the world for that,” Mirza notes.

With tourism being an industry that deals with good times, his ascent through the ranks at Tourism Malaysia has been memorable. In particular, he fondly remembers the Visit Malaysia years in 1990, 1994, 2007 and 2014.

But there has also been frustration, like when tragedies happen. All it takes is one untoward incident, often beyond their control, to dissuade people from visiting.

“In 2014 for example, we were geared up to achieve a target of 28 million visitors. But then there were air tragedies, massive flooding, and security incidents. When these happen, you have to double your efforts to overcome it as quickly as possible,” adds Mirza.

He is confident the industry will continue to grow. The country is on track to achieve its target of 36 million tourists by 2020 under the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Programme, and hopes to generate RM168billion in revenue, more than double the current figure.

While he has never thought of quitting tourism and doing other things, he would like to share his knowledge and experience with the younger generations so they can also venture into the industry better prepared to face its challenges in the years to come.

“The young who wish to go into the tourism industry needs to know there is a lot of backend and behind the scenes work going on. One must be ready to operate from the back, before finally enjoying the fruits of being in front.“

“Every holiday period or festive season, one needs to sacrifice their own holidays, to ensure visitors enjoy theirs. Your holiday will have to come later, perhaps when you retire!” quips the father of three, who has been married for 22 years.

“Tourism is an industry of the future, and one of the fastest growing in the world. In years to come, technology, economy and security advancements will bring the world closer, and lead to more people travelling.”

“And that will help bridge peoples. For by appreciating and understanding each other’s cultures, and working together towards a common goal, we can all build society and make the world a better place to live.”

说拿督Mirza   Mohammad   Taiyab是马来西亚旅游业飞跃发展的原动力一点也不为过,而这一切仅是源于一名爱好四处游览,感受迷人景点与体验不同文化的年轻的心。

这名马来西亚旅游局的现任总监绝大部分重心都在促进推动马来西亚旅游品牌,让全世界的人们能到访这个充满活力的多元文化国家,这是一条其所选择的悠远道路。

在霹雳州北部Kerian区的 Bagan Serai 小镇长大,他是童子军活跃的一员,经常参与露营旅行和骑单车游览,而双亲更是带着他走遍世界许多国家。

“我深陷旅行和大自然,学校毕业后也给予我清晰的发展路向,我想要参与和旅行有关的事务。”完成剑桥高级会考后,他在玛拉工艺大学继续高等教育,获取旅游管理文凭,而接着就是工商管理硕士学位。

1982年,他作为发展和计划管理部助理总监就职于旅游发展机构(TDC)。在这之前,他在一家汽车贸易公司履行短期合约经理的工作。

Mirza当时被委派任职德国公司的法兰克福办事处主管,负责欧洲的策略推广,随后也担任日本东京办事处主管。历经14年的职业生涯,他被提升为国际宣传推广部总监。

随后,2004年升任马来西亚旅游局副总监,最后2006年再晋级总监,他已在7届旅游部长属下服务,并目睹全球旅游和酒店趋势的转变。

“从我开始的那时期,业内人士还是以欧洲游客为中心,大多数游客来自欧洲或澳大利亚,当时,中国,印度和东盟国家并没有被视为旅游业的主要来源。”

如今局势已经转变,现在的旅游业是多元区域,东盟国家目前是工作重点,而马来西亚位于中心点,得到来自新加坡、文莱,印尼,泰国和中国游客的关注。

“品牌就是一切,15年前我们通过主题”真实亚洲”告诉全世界,他们可以找到个好范本,在马来西亚,不同民族可以保留本身文化和生活方式的地方,并且和睦相处,建设国家。”

他说,谈到旅游服务价值,从酒店到购物与餐饮,马来西亚是世界上为最吸引人的地方之一。

旅游业是与好时光挂钩的行业,马来西亚旅游业的排名上升情况令人难忘。他特别怀念1990年,1994年,2007年与2014年的马来西亚旅游年。可是,当发生一些未知的灾祸或悲剧时,也容易造成挫折,这些状况往往阻挡了游客到访。

以2014年为例,他们作好万全准备,以实现2800万到访人次的目标。随着发生空气霾害,大规模的洪水天灾和治安事故,都让一切付诸流水。他说,当出现这些状况,只能尽快加倍努力去克服。
他相信这个行业持续增长,到了2020年实现3600万游客到访目标,而在旅游转型计划下,希望有1680亿令吉的总收益,超过目前的两倍。

而他从未想过抽离旅游行业或转行,非常愿意与年轻一代分享知识和经验,使他们也能在迈入这个行业更充分准备面对未来几年的挑战。

“那些踏入旅游行业的年轻一代需要更了解幕后工作与后台操作的策划准备,在享受成果之前,必须打好幕后基础。”

这名已历经22年婚姻生活,拥有3名孩子的父亲说,每到节假日期间,他们需要牺牲自己的休息时间,确保游客拥有美好的旅程,因此他估计休闲的日子可能要等到退休那一天。

“旅游是未来前进的产业,也是全世界不断增长的领域。在未来几年,技术,经济和治安的进步将缩短世界的距离,让更多人出行。”

他认为,这将有助于连接人们,通过欣赏与了解彼此的文化,朝着共同目标一起努力,构建和谐社会,让世界变得更美好。

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