Malaysia targets 300,000 GCC visitors

Genting is a popular hotspot

Malaysia in all its splendid beauty, is the heart of Asia.

That is, in fact, how its advertising sells it as well. There is no debating the point that it is indeed a place one would go to again and again. However what makes this year so special for Malaysia is that it is celebrating 50 years as an independent nation. To promote the events that the country has planned this year and the travel packages that go with it TTN caught up with the Malaysian minister of tourism, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan B Tengku Mansor.
Mansor said that Malaysia is expecting more tourists than last year as this is the visit Malaysia year 2007 this year. “There are many events to entice travellers from Middle East and world. This year at ATM we bring Malaysia to the world. We have been promoting this concept since the last year. In the last 13 years we have showcased our destinations this year we are showcasing events. We have brought along with us 150 members in our delegation to help sell the packages that coincide with these events”.
In terms of visitors, last year, Malaysia saw 180,000 visitors from the GCC region. “This year we are hoping to increase hat number to 300,000. Malaysia’s speciality is its warmth - that of its people or the climate. However, if you are looking for cooler climate we also have hills. In fact, from hills to beaches, to sea and even the wonders of the underwater world we have it all. So we people who are looking for different things from a vacation , can find it all in Malaysia. This is probably why we have so many repeat visitors from the GCC region. When people visit a place more than once, or as in the case of Malaysia, twice to thrice, it is because the place appeals to them. They like the country and want to explore it more”, he said.
One of the other important questions: is the Malaysian tourism ministry targeting the expatriates living in UAE? “We are researching the tastes of the expats in UAE especially Dubai and looking at what exactly it is that they are looking for and then design packages that suit them. Malaysia is a top of the mind travel destination and one that completely value for money as well,” Mansor said.
Tourism contributes 10 per cent to Malaysia’s GDP and ranks second in terms of its contribution, after manufacturing. The direct employment due to the industry is 500,000 while the indirect employment is 2.5 million. All this contributes to the growth of the country incorporating tourism at the heart of Malaysia’s generation next.  
By Sonorita Chauhan