Tourism has played a big role in boosting the Malaysia - New Zealand relationship

AS we celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and New Zealand this year, we reflect on the integral role tourism has played and focus on how the industry will continue building the partnership in years to come.

Our friendship was built on a shared membership in the Commonwealth, the Colombo Plan and mutual security interests as part of the Asia-Pacific region. Tourism between both countries was almost non-existent in 1957. Yet, following a number of initiatives, we have witnessed continued growth in tourism arrivals from Malaysia.

A record 55,232 Malaysians visited New Zealand in the year ending April 2017, up 49.9 per cent from the previous year, making it one of the highest percentage increase in holiday arrivals from Asia to New Zealand. A 20 per cent increase in holiday-stay days shows that visitors are also spending more time in New Zealand.

However, it is not enough for New Zealand to be a great destination. It is also important to take our growing understanding of each other to boost our tourism ties. New Zealand continues to collaborate with partners to help ensure Malaysians have access to information to get the most out of their New Zealand holidays.

We know that we must make New Zealand more accessible and we understand how ease of travel plays a big part in attracting Malaysian travellers.

For example, Malaysians do not need visas to travel to New Zealand.

We are excited to see more airlines bringing Malaysia and New Zealand closer, with new flights in recent years.

This strengthens connectivity and offers greater options and flexibility.

This year’s anniversary celebration theme is “New Zealand-Malaysia: Discovering the New”. Tourism will continue to play an important role as we continue to strengthen our partnership and discover new beginnings in the years ahead.

The New Zealand High Commission in Kuala Lumpur will be celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations with events throughout the year.

For more information, visit www.mfat.govt.nz/malaysia.

Steven Dixon, Tourism New Zealand regional manager for South and Southeast Asia

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