SUBANG JAYA, Dec 8 — Philippine lass Jannie Loudette Alipo-on was crowned Miss Tourism International 2017/2018 during a gala dinner on Wednesday, ending a five-year dry spell for Philippine beauties at the event.
Held at a hotel here, the 25-year-old was crowned by former Miss Tourism International Ariel Pearse from New Zealand and Miss Malaysia Tourism Pageant president/founder Tan Sri Danny Ooi.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to express my love for Malaysia through this title,” she said.
“It is time for the world to know how beautiful and culturally diverse this country is, and I am extremely happy to once again hold the title for Philippines after such a long time.”
More than 800 guests from all over the world witnessed the pageant, which saw the winner walk away with a RM60,000 Lim KokWing University of Creative Technology scholarship, RM10,000 cash, a trophy and other prizes.
The other top four category winners were Maja Aleksandra Sieron (Poland) for Miss Tourism Metropolitan International; Lois Merry Tangel (Indonesia-Miss Tourism Cosmopolitan International), Diana Hills (Australia-Miss Tourism Global International) and Julia Do Vale Horta (Brazil-Dreamgirl of the Year International).
The category winners were overjoyed with the accolades and awards they received from Ooi.
“I would like to return to Malaysia with my family to experience the culture and food,” Hills said after the event. Tangel, Horta and Siero echoed similar sentiments.
Malaysia’s Melissa Ng Sook Khuan took home the Miss Glowing Glojas award.
With some 47 participating countries, Malaysia was one of the top 10 finalists in the overall competition.
In addition, a special award for Miss Southeast Asia 2017/2018 went to Thailand’s Kamolrut Tanon.
Another 13 subsidiary titles were awarded during the finals: Miss Whoosh!, Miss GINTELL Wellness, Miss Sogo Trendsetter, Miss Glowing Glojas, Miss Gorgeous Beverly Wilshire, Miss Charming Carlo Rino, Miss Secret Charm, Miss Dearest Grace, Miss Friendship, Best In Talent, Best In National Costume, Langkawi Tourism Ambassadress and Miss JBL Lifestyle.
Guests were also treated to cultural performances by the National Department for Culture and Arts and a display of the delegates’ own national attire.
The title started off locally in 1994 with only 23 countries, and today, it is recognised by the Tourism Ministry, including franchises in some 100 countries.
Judges included Malaysia’s heritage fashion icon Datuk Dayang Fatimah Tom Abang Saufi, fashion designer Carven Ong, beauty and wellness specialist Datuk Dr JasG (Jasvinder Singh), Miss Tourism International 2013/2014 as well as TV presenter and actress Kimberly Yang.
This year, the event’s main objective was to promote the “Visit Malaysia Year 2020” initiative by the ministry.
Ooi said next year the pageant would look to incorporate some 60 countries as a means to enhance Malaysia’s tourism income.