Wednesday, January 24, 2007

RM10b from Japanese Tourists

KUALA LUMPUR: Some 500,000 Japanese tourists are expected to visit the country and spend RM10 billion during Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2007.

The third VMY is expected to be successful because of the advertising campaigns in newspapers and magazines overseas and through the "Malaysia My Second Home" programme.

Tourism Minister Datuk Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said the ministry spent RM9.3 million on various types of advertising to attract Japanese tourists.

"So far, the advertising has been very successful in attracting them to Malaysia," he said after launching a special 16-page supplement in Japanese newspaper, Asahi Shimbun, at the Putra World Trade Centre yesterday.

He said last year, tourist arrivals from Japan was 340,000.

"We hope more of them will come this year and also participate in our Malaysia My Second Home programme."

However, he said the immigration department had previously made it tough for foreigners to get approvals for the programme as there were inefficiencies within the department.

"Those who apply for the programme have to deposit RM300,000 into their own account for a year before they can invest in the country. After one year, they can take out RM240,000 to invest in the country," he said.

However, some officers had meddled with the foreigners’ deposits.

"Anyway, I have cleaned up that mess and now everything is in place," he said.

He also warned agents not to overcharge foreigners when helping them apply for the programme.

"We will take back their licences if they cheat."

The first VMY in 1990 boosted tourist arrivals by 53.6 per cent. That year, the country attracted 7.44 million tourists, bringing in RM4.5 billion in revenue.

Revenue rose to RM9.1 billion for the second VMY in 1994 although tourist arrivals dropped to 7.2 million, indicating that the country managed to attract higher-spending tourists.

For VMY 2007, the government has set a target of 20.1 million tourist arrivals and RM44.5 billion in tourist receipts.

Source : NST
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