There is a need for a promotion blitz to woo Indian tourists to make Malaysia the springboard for their visits to Asean and the Far East.
MIC-owned Social Strategic Foundation executive director Datuk Denison Jayasooria said the number of Indians going on tours had increased tremendously.
“It is expected that over 300 million middle-class Indians are expected to go overseas over the next two years,” he said.
Speaking at a panel on South, South-East and East Asia at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) here yesterday, he said strategic cooperation between Malaysia and India would benefit both countries.
“This is the market we have to tap, and the intense promotions for Visit Malaysia 2007 should continue to ensure the increase in arrivals from India in 2008 and 2009,” he said.
He said the Malaysian Tourism Board and the Tourism Ministry should play a catalytic role in developing links with the Indian government and Indian tour companies this year.
Jayasooria said about 65,000 to 70,000 Malaysians visited the sub continent last year, with the majority going on spiritual pilgrimages, as against 250,000 Indians who came to Malaysia during the same period.
He also called on the Indian government to establish formal mechanisms for networking to address problems faced by overseas Indians.
“Every year in the last five years, we have been coming here and it has always been a talk shop without any structure or specialised groups or forum. There is a need for secretariats focused on long-term targets and specific outcomes,” he said.
Jayasooria welcomed Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s pledge to set up a university for People of Indian Origin (PIO) in India, and urged the Indian government to consider the MIC-owned Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology (AIMST) in Semeling, Kedah as a PIO university outside of India.
Earlier, MIC deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel said India had emerged as one of the world’s leading economic power houses, but it had to ensure that its rise would also benefit its own diaspora.
Palanivel, who is Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister, said tourism was one industry which would be promoted as it would bring economic benefits and promote and strengthen people to people relationship.
Source : STAR
[tags : malaysiahotelnews hotels malaysia resorts news]