Did you know that Malaysia is Victoria’s 5th largest tourism market and generated 94,000 visitors in the year ending March 2013?  Yes, and I contributed to that figure too, having just returned from Melbourne less than 2 months ago.  Melbourne is also the world’s No.1 Most Liveable City in 2013 as ranked by The Economist Intelligence Unit.


Recently, the Victorian Government organised a Super Trade Mission to South East Asia and in a tourism event in Kuala Lumpur, it was hosted by the Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Louise Asher in the Grand Hyatt Hotel.  The Super Trade Mission is Australia’s largest to the region, with more than 445 delegates representing 315 Victorian companies.


At the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur, a fabulous event showcased Melbourne’s fashion, food and wine highlights.  In her welcome speech, the Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Louise Asher cited Melbourne’s strong calendar of events, stylish city experiences and the easy access to nature-based attractions as being the drawing factors for Malaysians to visit the city.


 Minister for Tourism and Major Events, The Hon. Louise Asher

The event proceeded to showcase Melbourne’s fashion and design credentials with a fashion parade curated by stylist Emily Ward accompanied by unique and interesting hats created by milliner Kim Fletcher.

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Internationally-accredited stylist Emily Ward is passionate about Australian fashion and annually styles runways for the L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival.  In addition to that, Emily regularly styles and directs the headline Designer Series runways during Melbourne Spring Fashion Week.


Guests at the event were mesmerised not only by the beautiful outfits paraded by tall lanky models but also the gorgeous hats perching on their heads.  Hats may not be a Malaysian thing but nevertheless, it was eye-opening indeed to see the latest designs from Melbourne milliner, Kim Fletcher.  Each piece of headwear is designed and handcrafted by Kim – she spends countless hours creating the most unique and arresting bespoke pieces for her local and international clients.  As Victoria is home to the world famous Melbourne Cup Carnival, this international event uses Kim’s talents to promote their great horse racing.


Besides fashion, the event also featured acclaimed Indian-Italian chef Adam D’Sylva of Coda and Tonka restaurants. Adam is the part owner and head chef of Coda, Melbourne’s hottest bar and restaurant and needless to say, this chef has built himself an enviable culinary reputation.  Besides Australia, this enterprising chef has travelled and worked in Europe, New York and Asia.


I enjoyed getting to know the many tourisem representatives from Melbourne and surrounding regions such as the Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley, Dandenong Ranges, Phillip Island,  the Great Ocean Road, the Victorian Goldfields and Daylesford and of course, the Macedon Ranges.  I had a great time chatting with Len of Rayners Stonefruit Orchard – one place I’d certainly like to visit soon!  I got reacquainted with the Australian Wine Tour Co (read about my experience with them here), and can’t wait to possibly try ballooning with Global Ballooning Australia after an introduction to their services!  There are still lots to discover and explore in the Yarra Valley & Dandenong Ranges … something I’m looking forward to, in my next trip to Melbourne.

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I had a great time meeting these friendly people from Victoria… chatting with them over crunchy macadamia nuts and sipping on wines from Sandhurst Ridge, Goona Warra and Outlook Hill at the Victorian Cellar Door.  Oh, I also had a lovely cup of Degraves Espresso prepared by Jason Lo, winner of the Malaysian Barista Championship 2013.

Can’t wait to revisit Melbourne next month!

If you plan to visit Melbourne, do check out visitmelbourne.com and visitvictoria.com – lots of information there to help you plan your trip!