Never a dull moment

New Straits Times - - Jom! -

IHAD ex­pected to be bored and stressed dur­ing the two-day World Travel and Tourism Coun­cil Global Sum­mit in Bangkok last week. Bored be­cause I’m not one who likes to be in­doors es­pe­cially dur­ing my travel as­sign­ments. And stressed be­cause this would be my first as­sign­ment cov­er­ing such se­ri­ous event and noth­ing like my usual travel as­sign­ments that only re­quire my senses to ab­sorb the sights, sounds and en­ergy.

So yes, it was stress­ful as I had to re­vert to my news writ­ing skills — record, note and re­port — which I have left so many years ago.

But luck­ily I was never bored as the sum­mit was packed back-to-back with in­ter­est­ing top­ics pre­sented by A-lis­ters from global tourism play­ers.

The an­nual-event had gath­ered over 1,000 of the world’s most se­nior ex­ec­u­tives from travel and tourism’s public and pri­vate sec­tors which in­clude min­is­ters from 13 na­tions, in­dus­try CEOs and in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised thought lead­ers in the fields of con­ser­va­tion, se­cu­rity, fi­nance and tech­nol­ogy.

Among them were our very own

AirAsia chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Tan Sri

Tony Fer­nan­des, for­mer Prime Min­is­ter of the United

King­dom David

Cameron, In­done­sian Tourism Min­is­ter Arief Yahya and

Ja­maica’s Ed­mund Bart­let, among oth­ers.

Top­ics pre­sented were mainly se­ri­ous stuff that cov­ered is­sues on safety and se­cu­rity, open­ness and ac­ces­si­bil­ity, the ef­fect of glob­al­i­sa­tion on the in­dus­try and its sus­tain­abil­ity.

Yes, it was se­ri­ous and a bit of a yawn but sitting there at Bangkok Con­ven­tion Cen­tre made me re­alise that all my fun and ad­ven­tur­ous travel as­sign­ments, and your ex­cit­ing hol­i­days, are made pos­si­ble by these peo­ple — the thinkers and pol­i­cy­mak­ers.

As se­ri­ous as it was, first time Asean­host Thai­land couldn’t hold her­self from in­ject­ing her unique Thai cul­ture and grace by throw­ing an up­beat but el­e­gant open­ing dance be­fore Thai Prime Min­is­ter Gen­eral The open­ing act of the 17th World Travel and Tourism Coun­cil Global Sum­mit in Bangkok, Thai­land.

Prayut Chan-o-cha took the stage for his open­ing re­marks.

The show­case then con­tin­ued with a cul­tur­ally-rich gala din­ner which was spe­cially de­signed to show­case Unique Lo­cal Thai Ex­pe­ri­ences, the coun­try’s tourism cam­paign.

“There are many el­e­ments that we can learn from Thai­land. They’ve have or­gan­ised the event pro­fes­sion­ally. It looks sim­ple but is ef­fi­cient and smooth” said Deputy Min­is­ter of Tourism and Cul­ture Datuk Mas Er­miey­ati Sam­sudin who also at­tended the sum­mit.

“We’ve been told that Malaysia is a good, pro­fes­sional event or­gan­iser. That alone is a good sell­ing point. And yes, we wel­come the ideas to host such a global event,” she said.

And yes, as a host, Bangkok did a very good job, tak­ing ev­ery de­tail into con­sid­er­a­tion. What im­pressed me the most was the

ha­lal food served through­out the two days. In fact, most of us were put at ho­tels that have ha­lal-cer­ti­fied restau­rants. Now, that’s what I call a job well done!

I can al­ready imag­ine how Malaysia will host the an­nual World Travel & Tourism Coun­cil’s Global Sum­mit — a colour­ful Malaysian wel­come dance at the open­ing cer­e­mony and an un­for­get­table gala din­ner that will serve ex­otic Malaysian cui­sine and an­other round of cul­tural shows.

And we have the in­fra­struc­ture — su­perb con­ven­tion venues such as the Putrajaya In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­tre or Kuala Lumpur Con­ven­tion Cen­tre, good fives­tar ho­tels, smooth traffic net­work and of course, our unique Malaysian cul­ture.

So, let’s pray that we will get our chance to show the in­dus­try’s who’s who how the sum­mit is held Malaysian style.

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