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Malaysia looks to Mideast.

A CAMPAIGN to highlight Malaysia as a growing tourist destination has been gaining ground in the Middle East.The 4th Visit Malaysia Year campaign, with the theme "Celebrating 1Malaysia Truly Asia", started in 2013. It is based on a series of year-long special cultural, sporting and musical tourism events and activities. The aim is to contribute to the government's target of attracting 36 million tourist arrivals and MYR168 billion ($52.1 billion) in receipts by 2020, as outlined in the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan (MTTP) 2020. According to the Association of South-East Asian Nations' (Asean) Tourism Malaysia director, Syed Yahya Syed Othman, the aim is to create MYR41 billion ($12.7 billion) in revenue from Asean tourist spend this year alone.In 10 years the number of visitors to Malaysia has more than doubled from 15.7 million in 2004 to 25.72 million in 2013. In 2013, Malaysia registered MYR65.4 billion ($20.2 billion) in receipts, making tourism its second largest foreign exchange earner. However, the comprehensive promotional activities are not solely hosted in Malaysia. A delegation of senior tourism officials visited Dubai, Qatar and Jordan in May, led by the Malaysian Minister of Tourism and Culture Malaysia, Dato' Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.The pinnacle of the Middle East cultural trip took centre-stage at the Arabian Travel Market 2014 in Dubai. Mohamad Taib Ibrahim, director, Tourism Malaysia for Dubai, said: "The Middle East market is a very important market for us, especially the GCC countries because they spend more, stay more and travel frequently. Therefore, Malaysia has recognised the importance of this market and has catered to their every need such as availability of halal food, luxury resorts and hotel apartments, praying facilities, family attractions such as theme parks and modern facilities."He added that most Middle East nationals get a visa on arrival to Malaysia, which makes their visit hassle-free. A total of 150 sellers from 84 Malaysian organisations took part at ATM 2014, showcasing hotels and resorts, travel agents, tourism products owners, and giving access to representatives from the state governments. Muslim travellers were highlighted as an important target market with the Penang State Government launching a tourist guidebook called "Experience Penang --A Muslim Travel Guide 2014". It serves as a comprehensive guide on tourist attractions in Penang, as well as restaurants that serve halal food, and accommodation with Halal-certified kitchens.In 2013, a total of 324,437 West Asian tourists visited Malaysia. The country recorded 19,830 tourist arrivals from the UAE and 7,264 tourists from Qatar, as well as 6,278 tourists from Jordan. According to a 2013 survey by Singapore-based Muslim travel consultancy Crescent Rating, Malaysia is the world's top Muslim-friendly holiday destination. Shopping is accountable for Malaysia's tourism success. Kuala Lumpur was ranked by CNN as the fourth Best Shopping City in the World in 2013 for the second consecutive year, adding to a long list of industry awards and accolades. Tourism Malaysia was presented with the "Best Global Tourism Advertising Campaign" award, at the 4th Middle East Business Leaders Awards 2013 in Abu Dhabi, and at ITB Berlin, Tourism Malaysia's video "Malaysia Truly Asia -- The Essence of Asia" took top spot with a gold award at the 2014 Golden City Gate Tourism Media Awards. By Helen McClure Copyright 2008

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Publication:Travel & Tourism News
Geographic Code:90ASI
Date:Jul 1, 2014
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