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KUALA LUMPUR: Tourist arrivals for the first 15 days of the year have taken a slight dip and this was partly attributed to the floods in the southern part of the country.
“The floods have affected tourist arrivals but the first three months of the year is usually a bit slow except for long haul tourists who want to escape the winter.
“We have seen a dip in tourist arrivals for the first 15 days of the year compared with the corresponding period last year.
“For the first 15 days of 2007 we had some 600,000 tourists coming in,” said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.
“Tourist arrivals from Singapore and Thailand have shown a decline,” he told reporters after flagging off the Florathon and the Bunga Raya Waiters' Race at Merdeka Square here yesterday.
He did not reveal the percentage drop in tourist arrivals but said that out of the 600,000 tourist arrivals, Singaporeans, Indonesians and Thais accounted for the most, followed by visitors from China and India.
Most of the tourists were concentrated in Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi and Kota Kinabalu.
Tengku Adnan said he would be attending the Asean Tourism Forum in Singapore next month where he would discuss with the Singaporean authorities on ways to increase tourist arrivals.
On another note, Tengku Adnan said the highlight of the ongoing Floral Fest 2007 would be the Floral Parade at Persiaran Perdana in Putrajaya at 8am on Jan 27.
He said the ministry was working with Kuala Lumpur City Hall on ways to upgrade facilities at Taman Tasik Titiwangsa due to the large number of visitors since the launch of the Eye on Malaysia ferris wheel.
Meanwhile, the Florathon today was a huge success with over 700 participants.
They were judged on the creativity and originality of their floral-themed costumes and not how fast they finished the 3km course.