NEW YORK: Malaysia continues to be an attractive destination as evident at the ongoing three-day New York Travel Show that saw Malaysia's New York office making a strong pitch to highlight its tourism attractions.
Tourism Malaysia's New York office marketing manager, Mary Scully said a review of the 2015 tourism traffic from North America to Malaysia discerned a growing propensity towards luxury travel.
And also what she described as "unique experience travel" such as encountering wild animals in their habitat.
"Besides these trends, we also noticed families travelling together, the so-called generation travel, to Malaysia," she told Bernama at the trade show, adding that she had discerned 'positive energy' that was reflected by bloggers who highlighted new trends in travel.
She said some of the bloggers already knew Malaysia and the sheer beauty of places like Malacca, Kota Kinabalu and Penang.
However she said one of the challenges that many Southeast Asian nations faced in attracting the tourist traffic from the United States was the lack of direct connectivity to their respective destination.
This challenge is also faced by Malaysia, she said.
Meanwhile Arthur Richards, a native of Pennsylvania, took his first trip to Malaysia in 1998.
Richards, who is an architect by profession, said that Malaysia's finest asset was its "welcoming, warm and helpful people".
"When we talk about tourism, we usually talk about landmarks, sightseeing, connectivity, food and shopping. But in Malaysia's case, its best asset is the people," he said when met at the show.
"And this is my experience as a passionate traveller who frequently visits Asia," he said, adding that he had visited historical landmarks such as the Taj Mahal, Angkor Wat and Great Wall of China.
According to Tourism Malaysia and Immigration Department Malaysia, overall tourist arrivals fell by nine percent in the first half (January-June) of 2015, with 12.57 million international visitors clocked in Malaysia.Of these arrivals, North America accounted for 122,386 tourists in the first six months of last year, with 262,106 arrivals clocked for the entire 2014.
This year Tourism Malaysia New York plans to participate in trade and consumer shows such as the Boston Globe Travel Show and the joint trade show with Matrade in Santiago, Chile.