Sunday, January 21, 2007

600,000 visit Malaysia in first 15 days of this year

KUALA LUMPUR: Some 600,000 tourists visited Malaysia in the first fifteen days of the month.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said the tourists were mainly from Asian countries, and that the figures were very encouraging since the launch of Visit Malaysia Year 2007.

He said tourists from Singapore, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Russia, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Taiwan visited mainly Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi and Kota Kinabalu.

Tengku Adnan added that it was normal that tourists arrivals for the first two months of the year was slow, but it usually picked-up after that period due to changes in weather in the other parts of the world that attracted people to the hotter climate.

"The floods in several parts of the country, especially in Johor has affected tourists arrivals, and therefore I will be having a meeting with tour operators in Singapore on how best to get more people from the neighbouring country to visit Malaysia.

"Due to the unrest in Southern Thailand, tourists arrivals from this areas are also slow, and we will visit tour operators in Narathiwat and Haadyai to discuss on ways to attract their people to visit the country,'' he told reporters after flagging off the Florathon and the Bunga Raya Waiters' race at Dataran Merdeka here on Saturday.

Some 1,000 people dressed in colourful attires with floral themes took part in the 3km walk from Dataran Merdeka (Jalan Raja) passing through, Jalan Parlimen, Jalan Cenderawasih, Jalan Tembusu, Jalan Cenderasari and back to Jalan Raja.

Tengku Adnan added response from both the local and foreign tourists to Taman Tasik Ttitwangsa was overwhelming, with about 30,000 people flocking the area on weekdays and about 70,000 during the weekends.

"Daily about 3500 visitors take a ride on the 'Eye on Malaysia' ferris wheel, and we are discussing with the government, if it could be a permanent feature,'' he said, adding that 30% of the visitors were foreigners.

He said due to the unexpected response, the ministry was working with Kuala Lumpur City Hall on ways to upgrade facilities at the lake.

"We need to have more toilets, food outlets and parking bays to ensure all complaints forwarded by the visitors are settled,'' he added.

Source : STAR
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