by Intan Abdul
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from left: Puan Zainariah Johari, YB Datuk Sebastian Ting, Puan Zubaidah binti Mukhtar and Mr Azmi Mustapha

 UDS Media Sdn. Bhd., with the support of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia, today announced that Malaysia will play host to the first International Conference and Exhibition on World Cultures 2023 (ICWC ‘23) in September as an initiative to unite the unique cultures of the world under one roof to elevate the economic, social, environmental, and gastronomic growth of the global tourism industry. 

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) reported that tourism was one of the largest industries in the world, accounting for 10.3% or 333 million of all jobs and 10.3% or USD 9.6 trillion of the global GDP before COVID-19 came about. Prior to that, the cultural and heritage tourism sector observed many obstacles, and even more so after the pandemic. Hence why UDS Media Sdn. Bhd. has organized ICWC ‘23 – to address the challenges faced globally in sustainably conserving and marketing cultural tourism, which can benefit the country’s economic, social, and environmental growth. 

Mr Azmi Mustapha – President of ICWC ’23

Azmi Mustapha, the President of ICWC said, “Tourism is a key pillar in the economy that creates employment and opportunities for every nation, and culture is one of the main driving forces for the growth of tourism. Having an event such as the ICWC ‘23 is a great opportunity for cultural promotion between nations. Through this event, we are able to aid in increasing cultural awareness as a whole, while at the same time, learning, educating, and exchanging knowledge of different cultures.” 

Over the course of four days, ICWC ‘23 will host an International Conference with world-renowned speakers to discuss matters on preserving and promoting cultural heritage – both tangible and intangible, methods to achieve a better state of economic and social well–being for all involved sectors, improvement on the tourist experience by promoting community-based tourism, sustainable tourism development, and more. Apart from this, the conference will also include slots for a special feature presentation where delegates can share their extensive experiences in cultural work & academic research, and showcase their upcoming cultural events and projects to potential sponsors to acquire financial assistance. 

Puan Zubaidah binti Mukhtar – Director-General of Istana Budaya

Additionally, ICWC ‘23 is also putting these matters into practice as showcased in its World Class Exhibition. The exhibition is expected to welcome more than 10,000 visitors from all across the globe to enjoy the best distinctive cultural offerings from over 50 countries through 280 exhibits, 6 country pavilions, 20 traditional massage stations, 30 cultural performances, and four cultural and artistic exhibitions. Attendees might also find themselves spoilt for choice as they are able to indulge in the myriad of local and traditional cuisines from all across the globe. In doing so, ICWC ‘23 is able to not only celebrate diversity and promote healthy cultural exchange but also illustrate effective promotional strategies of cultural tourism through the various carefully designed exhibits.

YBhg. Datuk Hajah Saraya binti Arbi, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC), said, “In addition to its cultural and academic importance, ICWC ‘23 has the potential to have a positive impact on the Malaysian economy. By attracting international attendees and promoting local businesses, the event will enable local communities to showcase their cultural heritage, generate income and improve their socio-economic well-being. By hosting this event, Malaysia will have the opportunity to engage with the international community and build relationships with experts and stakeholders from around the world. This will help raise Malaysia’s profile on the global stage and encourage cross-cultural exchange and cooperation.” 

Group photo at ICWC ’23

The launch event held at Panggung Sari, Kompleks Kraf Kuala Lumpur today saw the participation of numerous countries through its high commissions, consulates, and embassies based in Malaysia; these include – Argentina, Ukraine, Timor-Leste, Philippines, Namibia, Kenya, Brunei, Brazil, Maldives, Tajikistan, Iran, Eswatini, Lao, Romania, Senegal, Ghana, Azerbaijan, Morocco, Lebanon, Kuwait, Qatar, Iraq, Russia, Peru, and the European Union. The presence of these respective leaders and representatives coming together as one under the ICWC ‘23 initiative filled the attendees with pride for having Malaysia take the leading role in uniting the world through culture. 

The President of ICWC expressed his gratitude, saying “I am honored to see so many ambassadors, high commissioners, counselors, and other representatives from all across the world as we launch ICWC ‘23 for the first time. As a country well-known for its cultural and traditional values, as well as its harmonious multi-ethnic nature, I believe that it is befitting that Malaysia spearhead events such as this to unite the world for a common goal. “ 

“Many cultural and heritage sites suffered tremendously during COVID-19, and it is now the opportunity for us to do all within our capabilities to preserve them for generations to come. At ICWC ‘23, we look forward to being a medium for all countries to showcase their unique cultures and better understand how to capitalize on economic development through cultural tourism, without compromising heritage values,” he added. 

Taking place from 7-10 September 2023 at the MATRADE Exhibition and Convention Centre, ICWC ‘23 is supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) & Yayasan Hasanah, and partnered with the Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Sarawak. Sponsors of ICWC ‘23 include local brands such as Pops Malaya, Life Sauces, Nixo Innovations Sdn. Bhd., LWI BLUE, and Richiamo Coffee. 

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