Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Visitors At New York Travel Show Enamoured With Orang Utan and Borneo

Against a backdrop of the popular wildlife documentary 'Orang Utan Island' shown on American television, visitors to the Malaysian and Indonesian booths at the ongoing three-day New York Times Travel Show displayed a marked interest in Borneo wildlife, particularly the primate.

The show, touted by the New York Times as one of the largest trade and consumer travel shows in the USA, saw participants from Asean countries, notably Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Tourism Malaysia's New York office had set up a stand with four tour operators to jointly participate in the show held at the Javits Convention Center.

"Yes, wildlife tourism is an interesting aspect of tourism promotion in the United States. And interest in the orang utan has risen sharply. This view was also echoed by Indonesian exhibitors at the show," Mohamad Taib, the vice-president at the New York office of Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board told Bernama.

Although the show is much smaller than Berlin International Tourism Bourse (ITB) -- the world's biggest tourism fair which begins from March 5 in the German capital and attracts nearly 100 Malaysian delegates -- the New York show has gradually established itself as an important platform on the east coast for tour operators, travel agents and others connected with the industry to interact with one another.

According to Taib, tourist arrivals from the United States in 2007 increased 17.5 per cent to 20.97 million, up from 17.55 million in the previous year.

"In recent times, we have seen a revival of tourism to Malaysia after the slump, following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks," he said.

Malaysia pitches for ecology and adventure tourism, with packages offered for Borneo, Sabah and Langkawi's beaches being favourites with many foreign tourists.

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