Me with Dato Dr Sri Yen Yen, members of the ministry, and Shahul Dawood.
I've spent most of the last 10 years hiding on islands or mountain tops, the last 3 years in Kuala Lumpur. I've avoided blogging conferences. Well maybe not avoided, but most of the conferences happen in the USA. I'm living here out in Malaysia. Well a few weeks ago I was approached by MITBCA (Malaysia International Tourism Bloggers Conference and Awards), could we do some cross promotion, could I speak on travel blogging, would I travel to Malaysia to do this?
I emailed back, well I live in Kuala Lumpur, where is your office?
Over the next week we put together a plan, travelblog.org to be the official online blogging partner for the event. I'd bring in some speakers from the region, they'd open up the travel blog category to travelblog.org members, with a trip to Kuala Lumpur as a prize.
I was able to bring Shane Dallas The Travel Camel
, as an experienced public speaker to Kuala Lumpur for the event. I spoke in front of several hundred people on the experience of building and maintaining TravelBlog.org - "How to Identify and Build ACTIVE Communities Through Travel Blogs" - I'll put up the slideshow soon, my theme was build
Malaysia Internation Travel Bloggers Conference and Awards
"Measuring return on investing in touris using social media" - Panel:Dr Mirhulda Dwivedi, Jo-Jo Struys, Jim Craven, Nisha Jha - moderator Dil Ishak
it, generate buzz, maintain it, work at it. Today I moderated a panel session. I've met people from the ministry of tourism Malaysia and the Minister of Tourism (Dato Sri Dr Yen Yen) herself. It's been a bit of whirlwind. It's been a lot of fun. Hopefully I've been able to influence and inspire people.
It's a far cry from the technical presentations I've been giving for the past ten years.
Highlights of the conference included; The Travel Camel
doing the chicken dance with the minister for Tourism, shouting at the Ambassador to Uzbekistan (the music was very loud), getting to meet wonderful bloggers from the world over, watching Sheila Scarborough
's pro level presentations, energetic performances from Windy Ariestanty
, Jo Jo Struys
' compelling videos of Borneo.
New friends, and inspirational bloggers, vloggers, twippers and entrepreneurs ; James Craven, CEO Hybrid Media
, Mridula Dwivedi
, Anis Nabilah, a celebrity who cooks
(she doesn't like to call herself a chef!), Mike Aquino, SEA about.com guide
, Hanie Hadayah
, Anuradha Goyal
, Joe Lee, Klubbkidd
, Nisha Jha, Le Monde
, Kiruba Shankar
- who I apologise for not having had the time to make a video interview for!
Videos of the event will be available on MITBCA
It's been great, I will write more, lots of stories, off for afternoon tea with the ministry... Update:
I had tea and yet more food with high ranking members of the tourism ministry, we talked diving, gardening, blogging, golf (not much input from me there), about development and conservation, I spoke about a few of the problems facing my Malaysian Kampung (Perhentian Kecil!) - we talked about what we can do next year to make this conference even more successful. Overall, this has been a fabulous experience - it's been a pleasure and a whirlwind. Please note:
I apologise to members of travelblog.org that entered the competition, the response technically overwhelmed the organizers, and restricting to only facebook votes caused great blogs to be overlooked. They promise to be much better prepared next year. So that's the good news, there will be another event next year, and I'll make sure that Travel Blog members get as fair a chance as any other blogger. We spoke about opening up the criteria to bloggers who have never visited Malaysia too. To those that missed out this year due to delays - again my sincerest apologies. Update
13th May: Catching blog entries from around the net that were also about the event:
From Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr
Enjoy Your Holiday and Talk About It
Michael Aquino, Anis Nabilahm Hanie Hidayah, Windy Arestanty - moderator Khairul Anuar bin Shaharudin
Ng Yen Yen ‘Uphold nation’s solidarity, peace’
, Social media the way forward, says Ng
From Jard (one of the winners) Malaysia International Tourism Bloggers Conference & Awards 2012
From Nisha Le Monde
Let me know if you have any more!
Photos that include me courtesy of The Travel Camel
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