Malaysia is a very much sought after diving destination by American divers, said Malaysia Tourism Ambassador for Diving, Clement Lee.
He said constant efforts must continue to allow the people from other parts of the world to be aware of the existence of Malaysia’s diving sites.
“Generally, the American market knows the happening in the Asia Pacific and Malaysia is on top of the list of diving destinations.
“We just need to connect what we have and showcase to them and that is exactly why I, being the diving ambassador continue to promote our unique spectacular underwater treasures to the world,” he told Bernama via Messenger application today.
Lee is currently in Orlando, Florida, United States for the four-day Diving Equipment & Marketing Association (DEMA) Orlando 2017 event to give insights of Malaysia’s diving sites to the tourism industry players through presentations including ‘Unlocking Malaysia Diving Hidden Treasure’.
He said another speaker was an international undersea photographer from Michigan, United States, Rudy Whitworth who gave a presentation entitled ‘Emerging Diving Locations in Malaysia’, highlighting on Labuan, Layang-Layang, Tioman, Kuching and Miri, among others.
“Rudy was in Malaysia for five weeks from April this year and shot over 6,000 pictures including some of the marine lives he has not seen before in his 39 years of diving,”Lee said, adding that Rudy collaborated with Tourism Malaysia to promote Malaysia’s diving sites.
“I feel extremely proud to be able to contribute to my country, Malaysia in promoting our unique spectacular underwater treasures to the world and in doing so enjoying my lifetime passion — diving,” Lee added.
He said during the DEMA Orlando 2017, the Tourism Malaysia (Package Development Division) held discussions with Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) worldwide president and CEO Dr Drew Richardson on possible future collaborations.
“During the four-day event, I noticed wholesalers (tourism players) now coming back to make appointments with Tourism Malaysia which is a good sign for our tourism industry, besides that, we also got the quality buyers for our tourism packages promoted by Tourism Malaysia,” he said.
As a PADI open water instructor, Lee pioneered the first diving school in Tanjung Aru, Sabah and has been instrumental in the growth and development of diving and dive tourism in Malaysia since.
Lee was the first Asian to receive the DEMA Reaching Out Award (2008) in Las Vegas, USA and was awarded by Malaysia Tourism in 2000 for Outstanding Contribution to the Tourism Industry (Private Sector).