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Malaysia Kuala Lumpur AdobeStock SeanPavonePhoto 91743793Tourism Malaysia announced at World Travel Market (WTM) that UK marketing efforts for 2019 will focus on increasing awareness of the country's natural and human assets, such as Kinabalu National Park and the four UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Lenggong Valley.

The UK is the only European country in Malaysia's top ten international arrivals and in the period from January to August 2018, UK visitor numbers increased by 2.5% year on year.

The tourism authority announced a raft of nature-focused destination and tour updates at WTM. These included Sabah Tourism launching package tours to give a taster of the area's wildlife; the Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort in Sabah offering nature and adventure experiences; Wildlife Worldwide launching a new tour where visitors can discover Borneo's rare mammals; and the Four Seasons Langkawi launching eco and cultural packages.

For the cruise market, TUI's UK cruise line, Marella Cruises, announced a new itinerary for its winter 2018/2019 programme which starts with a night in Langkawi and calls at Penang and Port Klang in Malaysia, as well as ports in Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

In attraction news for Malaysia, the first 20th Century Fox theme park will open in Genting Highlands, Pahang, next year with expected rides to include "Ice Age", "Rio", "Alien vs Predator", "Planet of the Apes" and "A Night at the Museum". Construction is slated to commence soon on Splash World @ Harbour City in Melaka. It will cover 46,000 square metres and be located 14 storeys above the ground in the centre of the UNESCO World Heritage city and is scheduled to open in the first half of 2020.

New hotel openings scheduled for the end of this year include CitizenM, the RuMa Hotel & Residences, and Dash KLCC in Kuala Lumpur; and the Ri-Yaz, in a renovated heritage building in Penang.

For early 2019, the Monopoly board game-themed Monopoly Mansion is scheduled to open in Kuala Lumpur, which is the world's first hotel based on the Hasbro game.

Looking further ahead, other accommodation openings announced at WTM include Dash Oriental Malacca (due for completion in 2020); So Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Hotel & Residences (opening in 2020); Crowne Plaza Kuala Lumpur City Centre (opening in 2021), Amari Kuala Lumpur and Amari Penang (both opening in 2021); and the Radisson Red Kuala Lumpur City Centre (opening in 2022).

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