MGTA Chairman Eushen Ng explained that the concept behind the new logo and the www.playmalaysiagolf.com website was simple and straightforward. "We wanted to get a message out to our key markets that makes it clear just how seriously good the golf courses are here throughout Malaysia," he said.
"There are hundreds of thousands of golfers with easy access to Malaysia who really love their golf and play as often as they can. Playing on great golf courses in a range of different environments is what they like to do when they travel and this is exactly what Malaysia offers. I don't think there is another golf destination that provides such a wide range of golfing challenges of the highest quality. So we are inviting avid golfers to come and really 'Play Malaysia'..."
The new website, which went live this month, presents golf travellers with options of playing in the cities, playing on tropical islands and playing in Malaysia's forested Highlands. "Rather than just give the golfer a list of golf courses for them to plough through online, what we do on the website is to ask first of all what sort of golf experience they are looking for," Eushen continued. "All members of the MGTA are committed to delivering the best possible golf experience to the visiting golf traveller, and this is where we think that Malaysia can really excel."
The Play Malaysia Golf campaign aims to attract first-time golf visitors to the country by letting well-known professional golfers and celebrities do the talking. Malaysia regularly hosts four international Tour events every year and many of the world's leading golfers frequently visit the country. Eushen said: "In recent months we have been asking the Tour players what they think of Malaysia as a country and they have some great insights into Malaysia's strengths as a golf destination that we want to share with golfers."
At the inaugural Eurasia Cup which took place in March this year, Europe's Ryder Cup captain, Paul McGinley, said: "Malaysia is one of my favourite countries to visit and I could [go and] live in Asia in the morning. I had a meal at The Saujana [golf resort] and it was as good a meal as you could have anywhere in the world. I can recommend the food, hotels and the weather. There is no element of Malaysia that I would consider weak. [For me it is] another day in Paradise."
The hero of the Eurasia Cup, India's Anirban Lahiri, said: "I like the food, I like the people and I like the golf courses. Malaysia is a great family place with lots of things to do. Malaysia has so many good international golf courses and a lot of my friends and acquaintances come here to enjoy them."
Tennis legend Vijay Amritraj, visiting the Eurasia Cup, said: "My first-ever international trip on tour as a tennis player was to Kuala Lumpur. I love coming back to KL, I love coming back to Malaysia. The warmth of the Malaysians is just spectacular and they know how to be hospitable. And it is one of the prettiest places you can go to."
In the 2014 annual golf tourism survey recently published by global golf tourism industry organisation IAGTO, golf tour operators ranked Malaysia as the second most important golf destination for them in Asia after Thailand, rising two places in the global rankings since last year.
Commenting on Malaysia's rising popularity, IAGTO Chief Executive Peter Walton said: "There is no doubt that Malaysia has made great progress as a golf destination over the past 18 months as more golf tour operators begin to showcase the amazing courses and scenery that abound throughout the country. We can only see it growing rapidly from here as first-time golf visitors rise in numbers."
The Malaysia Golf Tourism Association (MGTA) is a non-profit making membership organisation whose goal is to create greater international awareness of Malaysia's many exceptional yet relatively undiscovered golf destinations. From the mountains to the beach and from the cities to the rainforests, MGTA member golf courses, golf resorts, hotels and tour operators work together to deliver the ultimate golf experience for every visiting golf traveller.