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KLIA Welcomes First Tourists For 2020 With A Grand Reception

Inside Story

Visit Malaysia 2020 is off to a great start with celebrations and performances at main gateways into the country

Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020) officially took flight on 1 January 2020, as domestic and international tourists at major arrival points coming into the country were warmly welcomed with a grand reception, greeted by none other than the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture himself, Datuk Mohammadin Ketapi. The symbolic gesture took place at Malaysia’s main gateway for international flights, Kuala Lumpur (KL) International Airport (KLIA), and signalled the commencement of the VM2020 campaign, launched with the slogan, “Visit Truly Asia Malaysia 2020.”

imgTourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohammadin Ketapi (fourth from right) welcoming tourists at KLIA.

During the event, Datuk Mohammadin expressed his hopes of Malaysians coming together to make this campaign a success. “Whether state or federal level, we hope everyone will work together towards this national mission,” he said briefly to attending reporters on the day.

imgDatuk Mohammaddin together with Etihad Airways cabin crew and representatives.

On the day, the first batch of passengers to land at KLIA were pleasantly surprised to be received by the welcoming party, with the Minister draping a special VM2020 sash around their necks upon stepping into the arrival hall. The passengers received goodie bags containing Malaysian souvenirs and were treated to traditional dances and musical performances, such as gamelan and sapeh performances, by the troupe from Istana Budaya. Guests disembarking from later flights were also treated to gifts and performances as the activities were repeated at 3pm, 6pm and 9pm that day.

During his time at the Royal Institute for Blind Youth, Louis was later introduced to a retired French army captain, Charles Barbier. Captain Barbier had created a language that he called ‘night writing.’ This language was created in a way where the soldiers would simply run their fingers over the punched dots and dashes on paper, all forming words to communicate messages to one another without the use of light or sound. However, the language was thought to be too complex by the soldiers and they were unable to use it. Captain Barbier then came to the school in hopes that perhaps the students would be able to use his night writing.

imgTraditional dance and music performances by Istana Budaya were a sweet surprise for arriving passengers.

“Apart from welcoming tourists to Malaysia on the first day of 2020, the special reception is intended to spread the excitement of the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign,” Datuk Mohammadin said.

To ensure as many visitors as possible were able to share in the excitement, similar receptions were held concurrently at 22 other entry points throughout the country, including klia2. Guests of honour in attendance for the reception at klia2 were Deputy Director General (Planning) at Tourism Malaysia, Zulkifli Md. Said and Malaysia Airports’ Acting Group Chief Executive Officer, Dato' Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh.

imgMalaysia Airports’ Acting Group Chief Executive Officer, Dato' Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh greeted passengers arriving at klia2.

All in all, the grand welcoming of visitors into the country by Malaysia Airports proved to be a big success, thanks to the collaboration between Malaysia’s state governments, tourism bodies and corporate agencies working together to ensure visitors to Malaysia in the year 2020 had a great first impression.

Meanwhile, Tourism Malaysia and Malaysia Airports are also collaborating with various international airlines and tour operators via the Joint International Development Tourism Programme (JIDTP) to increase connectivity and develop attractive holiday packages to Malaysia in anticipation of VM2020. Travellers can look forward to packages by many popular carriers including Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Malindo Air, Qatar Airways, Korean Air, and Turkish Airlines, among many others, offering great deals throughout the year. At the same time, Malaysia Airports has also made efforts to promote VM2020 within airports under their management throughout Malaysia, as well as the Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport in Turkey.

imgTraditional Malaysian dances and music performances at klia2.

Previously, Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had launched VM2020 campaign as part of the New Year’s Eve celebrations at Kuala Lumpur’s Dataran Merdeka. Much emphasis of VM2020 will be placed on ecotourism, arts and culture as these three sectors were selected as the way forward in developing Malaysia’s tourism industry, befitting the National Ecotourism Plan 2016-2025 and the National Culture Policy, in line with the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan goals of welcoming a total 30 million tourists to Malaysia and registering RM100 billion in tourist receipts by the year 2020. The VM2020 campaign aligns with Vision 2020 objectives with a focus on the sustainability of tourism, arts and culture by aiming to reduce the negative effects of tourism development and provide direct benefits to the community through the tourism industry.

With the theme and slogan of “Visit Truly Asia Malaysia 2020”, the VM2020 logo was inspired by Malaysian batik with various national icons such as the hornbill, hibiscus, wild ferns and the colours of the national flag incorporated. Together, these motives represent the diversity of Malaysia’s culture, heritage, flora and fauna as well as the myriad of experiences that the country has to offer as a holiday destination. The campaign logo is the work of Alfred Phua Hong Fook, which was the winning entry selected among hundreds of participants via a nationwide design competition held in March last year.


The Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) series of campaigns was first initiated in 1990, under the theme “Fascinating Malaysia, Year of Festivals”. This campaign turned out to be a huge success, with Malaysia charting 7.4 million in tourist arrivals compared to 4.8 million in 1989 previously. This then spurred another VMY campaign in 1994, with the theme of “Fascinating Malaysia. Naturally More”. In 2007, in conjunction with Malaysia’s 50 th Merdeka Day Anniversary, another VMY campaign was launched, with the theme “Celebrating 50 Years of Nationhood”. This was then followed by the 2014 VMY campaign, themed 'Celebrating 1Malaysia, Truly Asia'.

VM2020’s signature events are set to be a multitude of Malaysian cultural celebrations and festivals, which occur on a near-monthly basis. Among the most highly anticipated events are the annual Malaysian Open Houses (for the festivals of Chinese New Year, Aidilfitri, Deepavali and Christmas), Thaipusam, the harvest festivals of Tadau Kaamatan and Gawai in the states of Sabah and Sarawak, the month-long George Town Festival in Penang, the world-famous music festivals of Sarawak (Rainforest World Music Festival and Borneo Jazz Festival), Semporna’s Regatta Lepa and the Selangor International Indigenous Arts Festival.

For a more comprehensive list of events and happenings related to this year-long campaign, log on to the official Visit Malaysia 2020 website at

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