Assalamualaikum and good evening,


Datuk Tee Siew Kiong, 

State Tourism, Domestic Trade and Consumerism Committee Chairman,


Mr. Shyam Nair, 

Chairman – MAH Johor Chapter,


Mr. Mohammad Isa Abdul Halim, 

Director of Ministry of Tourism & Culture Malaysia, Johor Office,


Dr. Badrul Hisham Kassim, 

Director of Johor Tourism Department,


Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, 

Chief Executive IRDA,


Mr. Edzuar Zar Ayob Azari,  

Tourism Malaysia’s Director for Johor,


Mr. Andre Jean Sibert, 

MAH Honorary Secretary – General, 


Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests,


1. Allow me to express my gratitude to the organisers of the Malaysian Association of Hotels Johor Chapter Annual Dinner for 2015 for inviting me. I am deeply honoured to be here this evening amongst industry leaders, friends and peers.


2. The Malaysian Hotel Association is 41 years old this year. You have done a tremendously good work for Johor. Your contribution is enormous. In many ways, Johor tourisms grew because it has been moved and propelled by players like MHA.  


3. And I trust that the growing number of hotels and resorts deserves even more attention. I believe that this could be done if there are greater and genuine collaboration between stakeholders and all the industry players. Such understanding will optimise business result. 


4. Having said these, I must emphasise that all parties such as MATTA, MCTA, JTA, IRDA, JOHOR TOURISM and TOURISM MALAYSIA must continue to work hand in hand. Everyone must start talking to each other and engaged. Leverage on each other’s resources and expertise. Not only to continue to develop the right tourism products, but also to sustain these on a long term basis. We are living in an interdependent world. Being insular is just no more the norm.


5. To achieve this, tourism industry should not operate in isolation or be seen as a mere service industry that leverages on the natural and man-made attractions alone. It requires creativity in delivering services. It requires modern approaches in communicating your potentials and products. It requires everyone to come together and create new products and new attractions.  And, we must mobilise all our resources, be it government or private, NGOs or individuals to make Johor more visible, and visible internationally. Trust me, this industry offers vast opportunity for everyone to participate and benefit from. 


6. We must take cognisance of the fact that Johor tourism industry is performing well. Over the last 5 years, we have witnessed continuous growth of the industry. And it comes as no surprise that today, this growing industry is one of the largest income generators for this state.  It contributes approximately 5.9% or RM4.26 billion towards Johor gross domestic product income (GDP) for the year 2013.


7. However, at the national level, Johor is not the most visited state, yet. We are currently at number three, with more than 2.7 million people visitors in 2013 and the number is expected to exceed 5 million this year. Internationally too we are not as visible as Sabah or Penang. 


8. This means, we need to work harder.  Johor needs that visibility. We need more initiatives to ensure that our position is improved, and I am all for us to be the number one. And there is no two ways about it. 


9. I based this realistic optimism on the belief that we do have all the uniqueness. And we have world-class tourisms products. There is no reason why we cannot be the most visited state in the country. Or internationally visited. 


10. We are simply home to countless attractions. We have wetland of international importance. The Endau Rompin is one of the oldest, most pristine rainforest in the world. Our beaches in Pulau Paya, Pulau Sibu, Pulau Aur are just amazingly beautiful. And our Johor Premium Outlets is shopping haven which offers the perfect remedy for shopping lovers. 


11. But Johor tourism is not just about the opening of new theme parks such as the Angry Bird theme park, Tiram Waterpark and KSL Dinosaur Waterpark.  We have so much history to tell. That is the reason why the restoration of Bangunan Sultan Ibrahim is important and why the re-opening of Muzium Di Raja Abu Bakar matters. And to add colours to all these, we decided to redevelop the Sungai Segget. All these will give Johor its true character - vibrant, modern, cosmopolitan and yet cultured and historical.  


12. And we will not stop there. I am also interested in initiatives that will offer avenues for tourists to experience something different when they are in Johor. Something that they can bring home and will share with others. For me that is more valuable and attractive.


13. This can be achieved in many ways. One of those is to enhance and improve our services, warmth and hospitality. We may not realise it, but there are guests who will return to the same exact hotel again simply because the receptionist pronounces their names correctly. There are tourists who will return to a certain destination simply because they found new friends there. This means we can never discount the importance of developing our facilities and service quality. They are just undeniably critical and crucial. 


Ladies and gentlemen,


14. Before many forums, I often took the opportunity to reiterate the emerging of China, India and the Middle East as the 

next economic power that will have many impacts on us and the world at large. This does not exclude tourism industry. And we anticipate that the influx of tourists from all those countries and region into Malaysia will keep increasing. I hope this will be a development that all stakeholders and players in tourism industry in Johor will take note of, and make due preparation. 


Ladies and gentlemen,


15. Before I end my speech, I am pleased to hear that Johor Senai Airport will be the 

Malaysian’s Southern gateway for the newly launch of the Malaysia Airlines Flymojo. I read from the papers that this new airline will start its operation in October and it will be make Johor a regional aviation hub. 


16. I am very excited with this development. It provides Johor the much-needed connectivity. This is something huge and we must be prepared to showcase to the world what Johor and Malaysia have to offer. 


17. With hard work from all parties, I am confident that we can make a great achievement out of it. Johor as the Jewel of the South, the new economic powerhouse for Malaysia, will soon be a reality. 


18. With that, I thank all of you and wish everyone here a successful year ahead.