Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) was first launched in 1990 with the theme “Fascinating Malaysia. Year of Festivals”. The campaign was a huge success with Malaysia charting 7.4 million in tourist arrivals compared to 4.8 million in 1989. To enable tourists to easily recognize Malaysia, the “Orang Utan, the endangered species found in East Malaysia was used as a mascot and it was named “Wira”. Apart from it, Kuala Lumpur’s famous landmark, Sultan Abdul Samad building was featured as the official Visit Malaysia Year 1990 logo. Malaysia Independence Day in August 31 was the anchor for 84 major events, 14 festivals and nine exhibitions during VMY 1990. Who could ever forget the song “To know Malaysia is to love Malaysia” during VMY 1990?
The success of VMY 1990 has spurred another VMY in 1994. This time around, the theme was “Fascinating Malaysia. Naturally More”. VMY 1994 maintained its words “Fascinating Malaysia” for the theme but injected a punch line “Naturally More” to reflect more exciting things and events lined up for that year. “Orang Utan” was once again used as the mascot.
The third VMY was launched in 2007 in conjunction with Malaysia’s 50th Independence Anniversary. Hence, the theme “Celebrating 50 years of Nationhood” was most befitting to reflect this important anniversary celebration. Efforts were also intensified in all advertising and promotional activities, including the call for action “The time is now. The place is Malaysia” together with its successful and impactful slogan “Malaysia Truly Asia. In line with the 50th Independence Anniversary, over 200 events across the country with 50 major events were held to showcase Malaysia’s wealth of tourism attractions. All in all, VMY 2007 charted a tremendous success beyond expectations with 20.97 million in tourist arrivals and RM46.1 billion in tourist receipts. This means a rise of 3.42 million and RM9.8 billion from the previous year.
In 2014, Malaysia will celebrate its fourth Visit Malaysia Year with the theme “Celebrating 1Malaysia Truly Asia” to reflect the diversity in unity of all Malaysians. The Proboscis Monkey has been chosen as the mascot while the promotional campaign has started in 2013 with a series of year-long special events and activities leading to VMY 2014. This time around, VMY 2014 will be the biggest and grandest ever tourism celebration with hundreds of events and festivals all lined up to welcome the world. Overall, it is hoped that VMY 2014 will contribute to the Government’s target to receive 36 million tourist arrivals and RM168 billion in receipts by 2020, as outlined in the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan (MTTP) 2020.