Speech By Tan Sri Dr Francis Yeoh, CBE
Group Managing Director, YTL Corporation Berhad
A Journey Through Time Press Conference
16 September 2008, Tuesday
Our Guest of Honour, Yang Berhormat Dato' Sri Azalina Dato' Othman Said, Minister of Tourism Malaysia,
Y.Bhg Datuk Ab. Ghaffar A. Thambi, Deputy Secretary General, Tourism Malaysia.
Y.Bhg Dato' Razali Mohd Daud, Acting Director General, Tourism Malaysia
Mr. William Adamopoulos, President & Publisher, Forbes Asia
Distinguished guests, global watch retailers, members of the media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for taking time off to be here today for this momentous occasion.
The progression of Life on earth is marked with historical moments that define and shape the future. This year is a historic year for us all. Many out-of-this-world happenings have and will denote 2008 as the year that changed and edified our future.
Earlier the year, we witnessed a supernova. Recently, we saw the night skies of Beijing lit up spectacularly, throwing light upon a powerful Asian nation ready to play a leading role in our future world. Environmentally, we are more aware of our wanton destruction on Mother Earth and we have begun to step up efforts to diminish it.
Hence, the theme for the second year of A Journey Through Time is Moments in Time, where we celebrate the past, present and future of the flourishing watchmaking industry. We will pay tribute to the best and most innovative moments in the history of watchmaking by showcasing exquisite new and old timepieces that has made its mark in the horological world.
With the continued support and endorsement from the Ministry of Tourism, A Journey Through Time II will be hosted in Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur from 4th to 14th December 2008.
Last year was a successful inaugural year for A Journey Through Time which drew over 35,000 visitors to the showcase, comprising a mix of local and foreign visitors, of whom are high net worth individuals. This I believe, heralds the onset of Malaysia as being a top destination for luxury watch and jewellery acquisition in Asia.
This prestigious year-end event will continue to bring further economic benefits, as it will have other cascading multiplier effects on the hospitality business and the M.I.C.E market. This will accelerate the Ministry of Tourism’s vision of developing the Malaysian tourism industry into a sustainable number one income generator.
One such M.I.C.E event taking place in Kuala Lumpur is the Forbes Asia Luxury Forum where Asia’s leading authorities on the global watch industry will gather to deliberate on a much beloved topic - The Art of Time - that encompasses an arena relating to the appreciation of luxury timepieces.
The Forbes Asia Luxury Forum, specially held in conjunction with A Journey Through Time II, is indicative of the gaining momentum of appreciation for the finer things in life by Asia’s well-heeled individuals.
Recently, it was reported in the 12th Annual World Wealth Report by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini that “wealth is being created at an unprecedented rate in the Asia Pacific Region”, with India and China leading the pack as the world’s fastest-growing populations of millionaires.
The report listed jewellery, gems and watches at the top as “passion investments allocations” by the Asian millionaires who “have an unquenchable appetite” for luxury items.
And with the recent success of the Beijing Olympics, the eye of the world remains fixed on Asia as the NEW market. We should take advantage of this by continuing our efforts in promoting Malaysia as the preferred destination to the travelers of the world for holidays, events, functions and luxury acquisition.
A Journey Through Time is touted as Asia’s Most Fabulous luxury watch and jewellery showcase that is unlike Baselworld which is trade-focused and manufactured-skewed. Here, at A Journey Through Time, we aim to please watch connoisseurs and discerning watch collectors by bringing in the latest and most exquisite timepieces and jewellery from top brands like Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille, Van Cleef & Arpels, Blu, Boucheron, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Omega, Armand Nicolet, Mouawad and many more.
Not only that but Starhill Gallery is also proud to announce the set up of the Museum of Contemporary Horological Art which has been made possible by a group dedicated individuals of the watch fraternity. This museum will give us a comprehensive look at the history of Swiss watchmaking, its achievements that helped shaped the industry, as well as the latest cutting-edge technology which will enable us a glimpse of the watchmaking of tomorrow.
A Journey Through Time 2008 will be another year of great experiences encompassing good food, music, haute couture and haute horology. The entertainment line up will include world-class artistes like Russell Watson, Andrea Griminelli and our very own local artists who might just bring the house down again like last year.
A Journey Through Time II will be bigger and better with the latest and best timepieces to hit the watch industry, and with our tax free incentives for luxury timepieces, I’m confident that it will be another successful year.
Before I end, I would like to thank Yang Berhormat Dato' Sri Azalina Dato' Othman Said for being here today and for endorsing this collaboration with Starhill Gallery that will put Malaysia on the horological calendar.
I would also like to thank everyone for being here today and I look forward to welcoming you to Starhill Gallery for A Journey Through Time 2008, this December 4th!
Thank you and God bless all of you.