Thursday, May 10, 2012

Malaysia International Tourism Bloggers Conference & Awards 2012

This is my first time attending a conference designed specially for bloggers who blog about travel and also for the key industry people in tourism. There were many people at the conference especially from the tourism sector (ministry people, hotel owners, tourist guides, tourist spots owners etc), marketing people from various corporate groups (AsiaMedia, Maxis, etc), PRs from distinguished organizations and then finally, you throw in the bloggers. Put all these people together in one room and what I get as a blogger?

Opportunities at your grasp.

But what concerns me now is my "rojak" blog. I love travelling but staying loyal to that one niche is hard because I'm not a hard-core traveler like this blogger. As one of the speakers, the well known David Hogan Jr puts it, "The narrower the niche, the broader the opportunities." 

Not to mention the UGLY TRUTH about travel bloggers as shared by the famous Alistair Watters (Founder & Owner of and Shane Dallas (The Travel Camel blogger of, blogging about travel in truth don't earn them much money. They do it because they are passionate about it. Shane Dallas also shared with us that all his trips were self-paid. He was strict to himself by saving money from his job as a government servant. And he's single. (Don't know why I have to mention this. LOLOL) In fact, money came from writing for printed/online publications or maybe from pictures that possibly National Geography are interested to buy and also getting invited to give talks about it. That's where the actual money comes from. Most likely caused indirectly by the buzz of your blog. Overall, I'm truly inspired by their stories. =)

From left: Alistair, ME!, and The Travel Camel.
The problem with the blogging world in Malaysia is there aren't many blogs sticking to one niche. If there is, most probably it's about food, technology and celebrity gossip. Sadly, I don't know any blogs that specifically blogs about tourism. (except for my friend I mentioned above. Even her blog title is relevant. LOL)

I don't think I can continue this blog as a travel blog with ignorantbrat as the URL name despite bagging an award in the Tourism Travel Blog category. (And gosh, I feel I don't deserve it after attending this conference!) Haha. Popularity votes by the public does have its ups and downs. But hopefully will continue to blog on it as a personal blog. =)

I met several individuals that made my whole experience at the conference joyful.

Mr. John Phang (owner of CP Welness Sanctuary)... who sat next to me throughout the whole conference.

Mr Phang, my seat neighbour. Very cheerful.
Mr Phang was the first person to say hello to me on the first day. He even shared a meaningful quote with me which reads as “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”  ― Winston S. Churchill. He's a very friendly guy. Too bad I couldn't meet the rest of his family during the Award Ceremony later on that evening.

Other people of worthy acknowledgement is Ms Jessi!! I've been reading her blog for a while. Mostly because she's so enthusiastic about the things she does in life. Beautiful photos and she did an inspirational story about her slimming down on her blog. Gotta admire her spunk. Recognizes her hair of red anywhere!

Jessi from!
Jessi told me she was the official blogger for this event. Nice! =)

Of all the speakers, I can't really say which ones were my least or most favorites. But these two people below definitely held the microphone the most. Hehehe..

James Craven of Hybrid News Ltd UK and Sheila Scarborough, Writer,
Speaker and Trainer Specializing in Tourism, Travel and Social Media
I believe Tourism Malaysia did a smart move in inviting these prominent figures to Malaysia. Thank you for holding such a conference! There were many speakers that gave good talks to the audience and worth mentioning. Anuradha Goyal, Hanie Hidayah, Anis Nabilah, Dr Mridula Dwivedu, Mike Aquino, Nisha Jha, Stephen Doss, Windy Ariestanty, Iman Brotosena, Kiruba Shankar Sivaraman (the piggyback ride was memorable! Haha), David Hogan Jr, Jojo Struys, Joe Lee and Khairul Anwar.
From left: Sheila, Anuradha, Anis, emcee, Ali, Shane, James, Hogan and Dr Mridula.
With that I end my post by summarizing that the overall experience was definitely  refreshing, thought provoking and more ways than one, life changing. =)

Ps: Here's Ali's experience on MITBCA.


Fia Abas said... [Reply]

dpt invitation utk conference nih xreg sbb xdapat nk attend full days looks amazing :) not forget to highlight "single" part hahaha

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@fia abas.. it's OK if you're not able to attend fully. Just come and attend a few sessions is also OK. The organizers don't mind. Every session is unique and gives you lots of new knowledge. Hope next year you get to attend. =)

Unknown said... [Reply]

cam menarik....aku pun main rojak je...xde stick pada 1 niche...

Unknown said... [Reply]

cam menarik....aku pun main rojak je...xde stick pada 1 niche...

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@jedi.. tulah.. haha. lepas neh aku kena buat blog ikut niche la

Ali Watters said... [Reply]

Well spotted - yes, I own one single shirt ;)

Nice to have met you, glad to read that we inspired you, well done on the award you have a lovely blog, keep blogging for the passion and avoid posting about batteries!

ruggedmom said... [Reply]

wahhh...dpt award lah dia, congrats!

never thought of taking pictures with the speakers bcoz malu...rugi rugiiii...!

Fienuts said... [Reply]

I never thought of earning money from my travel stories too. I just wrote it for fun, to share and inspire others to just move it move it (to see the world)! All trips were also sponsored by myself. It's the only way we can share honest feedbacks about a place. I look forward to attending this next year!

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@ali.. posting bout "batteries" hard to avoid. but will try my best! hehe

@ruggedmom... thanks dear! Hope u dont forget me for the trip this Sept? hehe

@fie.. yess!!! must join next year!

Shane Dallas said... [Reply]

Congratulations on your award, loved your blog on Beijing street food - but hated the fried spiders picture! It was great meeting you and to see you sharing your passion for blogging and travelling! Any money I earn from blogging is so minimal it might only cover one day of travel expenses in a year, yet that doesn't prevent me for travelling for weeks at a time.

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@shane! hi there! it's a honor to have u commenting here! thanks also on your kind words. After hearing ur story, I'm inspired to travel more with my own money. so save! save! Save! hehehe. =)

Zarul Umbrella said... [Reply]

salam perkenalan...1st time singgah and komen..

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@zarul.. salam perkenalan gak!! tahniah atas kemenangan anda! hehe. terima kasih sudi dtg sini tinggalkan jejak

GreenLava said... [Reply]

Very casual conference, the way it should be.
Congratulations for the win!

akubiomed said... [Reply]

Congrats for the recent win award. :-)

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@akubiomed thanks! ^^

Diana Diane Teo said... [Reply]

Congratulation on winning the award.

I am strongly agreed with your statement that no many blogs are sticking to one niche only. Initially, my blog used to be a blog about my own personal stories not until I travelled to more than 20 countries within these 6 years and change into a travel blog. Most of my trips are self-paid one but cause of my passion and love toward travelling, it's worth it.

Hey, u are from Sabah? Me too! Which part? Feel free to drop by my blog.

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@GreenLava Yes! very casual indeed. stress free. hehe

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@Diana Diane Teo Let's stick to the travel niche! hehe. Lemme link to your blog. Yes! I'm a Sabahan! Nice to meet you too!

Anonymous said... [Reply]

good post, added you to my RSS reader.

TheJessicat said... [Reply]

Hello there sweetheart! :)
Lovely post. T'was very pleasant bumping into you during the event. So nice of you to say hi!

My warmest congrats in your award.

Much love
x Jessicat

Nisha said... [Reply]

Just stumbled to your blog and it shows I still remember the wonderful time we had there at MITBCA. :)

Congratulations to your award, though a bit late. ;) But the more the merrier. :)

Well after that visit, I have been to Malaysia twice again in 2012. It's such a wonderful country and I have been blogging about it regularly.

Just one small correction in the group photo of speakers... My name is Nisha and not anis. :)

I love the way all speakers except Ali are looking in every direction and not at KV Anand.

ohtravel said... [Reply]

perfect event!

looking forward to join the next MITBCA ;)