Malaysia targeting 36m tourists by 2020

Ibrahim ... Malaysia gets family friendly

IT has been a year of positive growth for Malaysia and visitors from the region have shown a promising growth of 3.2 per cent, said Mohamad Taib Ibrahim, director for Malaysia Tourism and Promotion Board, based in Dubai, UAE.

“Since the beginning of 2012, the immigration department has changed the system to check arrivals by country of nationality instead of arrivals. In lieu of that, the task is now to specifically target the nationals or in this case the Emirati travellers.

“These travellers are largely leisure guests and family travellers and so we will be looking at marketing some of our leisure attractions to the region,” he said.

Last year Malaysia welcomed 370,535 tourists a 3.2 per cent growth from 2011 when it welcomed 358,994 visitors. These figures represent the West Asia markets. Overall arrivals into Malaysia were 25.05 million, up from 24.7million in 2011.

Now, the country targets to achieve 36 million tourists arrivals by 2020.

Malaysia’s tourism calendar for 2013 is packed with events and colourful celebrations as a run up to the Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) planned in 2014. From celebrating the Chinese New Year, the Pasir Gudang World Kite Festival, the Water Festival which will be celebrated this month in Langkawi to the Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival (June 14 to September 1) or the Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism Festival, the country has something for every tourist visiting Malaysia.

Last month, the Ministry of Tourism and Tourism Malaysia welcomed the Formula One Grand Prix (F1GP) fans to the country and used this event to create awareness for and promote the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 (VMY) campaign among the local and foreign visitors.

In the Middle East, regional airlines are keen to boost their flight frequencies to Malaysia.

“There is no shortage of flight options to Malaysia with airlines like Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Qatar Airways but currently only Emirates and Etihad offer direct options.”

Tourism Malaysia will participate at the Arabian Travel Market in Duabi next month to boost its presence and communicate to the trade the country’s various offerings in the lead up to the VMY.

“Because the focus in on the family, we will be showcasing some new leisure products including theme parks such as Sanrio Hello Kitty Park, Legoland The Little Big Club and Kidzania, which are expected to be a huge draw for visitors from this market” he added.

Muslim tourists will also be assured to know that Malaysia has retained its first place position as the most halal/Muslim friendly holiday destination in Crescentrating’s Halal Friendly Travel rating 2013.

“We hope these new attractions will help us attract our repeat guests since as a destination we have grown our tourism offering by leaps and bounds,” concluded Ibrahim.