PUTRAJAYA, Dec 3 – Malaysia will introduce three additional strategies to attract more tourists next year in the face of the global ecocnomic downturn and the security problems faced by several countries, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The Deputy Prime Minister said a Convention and Exhibition Bureau would be set up with an initial grant of RM5 million to act as a one-stop-centre to coordinate activities to turn the country into a convention and exhibition destination.
Incentives would also be given to those holding conventions and exhibitions which gave high impact to the country, he told reporters after chairing a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Tourism, here Wednesday.
The additional strategy also involved a review of the ‘Malaysia My Second Home’ programme to make it more attractive by overcoming existing constraints such as matters concerning the participant’s investment, funds and occupation.
Emphasis would also be given to health tourism and eco-tourism to attract more tourists, he said.
Najib said with the three additional strategies, Malaysia was expected to attract 20 million tourists next year while without the strategies, the country was expected to attract only 18 million visitors.
Tourist arrivals this year were projected to be 22 million, a shortfall of 500,000 from the original target, he said, adding that there were 17.5 million tourists in 2006 and 20.97 million in 2007.
Asked whether current developments in Thailand would affect tourist arrivals to this country, he said the developments could also be a factor for them to come to this country.
Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said Malaysia was expected to earn RM44 billion in foreign exchange from the projected entry of 22 million tourists to this country this year.
Next year, Malaysia was expected to earn RM40 million in foreign exchange with the projected entry of 20 million visitors, she said.
She also disclosed that there were 10,000 participants of the ‘Malaysia My Second Home’ programme currently.
Tourism was the second largest contributor in terms of foreign exchange earnings after the manufacturing sector last year. The tourism sector also contributed 7.2 per cent to the country’s economic growth.
Source : Bernama