Malaysia in the Spotlight with Destination Asia Malaysia’s Olivia Soon

As Malaysia gets closer to reopening its borders with no quarantine for international travellers, we sat down with Destination Asia Malaysia’s Deputy General Manager, Oliva Soon, to reveal what post-pandemic travel will look like for both Leisure and M&I, uncover new experiences on offer to our clients, and find out what makes Malaysia an unbeatable destination for 2022 and beyond.

As Malaysia begins reopening its borders once again, do you predict any lesser-known regions becoming more preferable to travellers?

As we eagerly anticipate Malaysia’s reopening, tentatively early in the second quarter, it’s clear that Kuala Lumpur, Sabah, Penang, and Langkawi remain the preferred destinations for M&I business. However, for our leisure clients, Borneo is growing as a destination of interest due to its abundant wildlife and breathtaking natural beauty. Of course, lesser-known regions such as Mantanani Island, Banjaran Hot Springs, Janda Baik, and the area of Desaru are also starting to pick up; especially those offering exclusive villas – we can even offer private islands that ensure the pinnacle of seclusion and privacy.

What can Malaysia offer to event planners that simply can’t be found elsewhere in Asia?

Besides the variety of mouth-watering cuisine and its colourful people, Malaysia is truly unique in that it offers a vast range of experiences covering so many styles, such as arts & culture, classic, beach, local life, culinary, offbeat, adventure, wildlife & nature – all in one country. Malaysia itself becomes part of the event programmes we create, with each experience and encounter revealing a part of its history.

What new experiences or encounters can clients expect to see on offer from Destination Asia Malaysia in 2022?

Clients can expect to see more products that support our commitment to sustainability, especially in terms of immersive conservation where guests have the opportunity to meet host families, such as a homestay experience at a village in lower Kinabatangan focusing on community-based ecotourism. We also offer kampung, or local “village”, experiences in Padang Rengas. We are also focusing on the delivery of products that raise awareness of the importance of protecting the natural world while ensuring effective environmental management, for example, focusing primarily on experiencing and learning about nature, its landscape, flora, fauna and its habitats, as well as cultural artefacts from the locality. As a Partner member of Travelife, we have placed great emphasis over the past four years to ensure not only our products deliver sustainable experiences, but that our services and operations are also managed in a way to minimize any negative impact.

What services and operations can Destination Asia offer clients to create truly unique experiences, both in-destination and as a preferred partner?

Destination Asia Malaysia has over 10 years of experience in providing seamless multi-destination solutions, innovative personalised services, and unforgettable hands-on experiences. We believe that the destination management sector is primarily about people so we input measures to ensure every client handled on the ground in Malaysia takes away an authentic, well-planned and perfectly executed experience of the country.

Where is your favourite destination in Malaysia and why?

To be honest, I can’t choose one! With a fascinating history and being part of the international spice route many hundreds of years ago, Malaysia is now a mosaic of cultures. Everything from its people to its architecture reflects a colourful heritage and an amalgamated culture. To understand Malaysian culture, you must first get to know its people. So instead of a single location, I would say my favourite thing about Malaysia is its people.

For more information on our range of exceptional experiences available in Malaysia, explore our new brand new Malaysia ebook.

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