Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Low-cost Deals make Air Travel Affordable

KUALA LUMPUR: Low-cost carriers have helped to increase tourist arrivals as those from the lower income group can now afford to travel.

"It is affordable to travel now and we are also offering reasonable packages," said Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab.

There has been a 50 per cent increase in the number of tourists from Brunei, while arrivals from Vietnam and the Philippines have increased by 33 per cent.

Mirza said 70 per cent of tourist arrivals in the country was from Asean countries.

He said that tourists made up 50 per cent of the occupancy rate of hotels in Malaysia.

Last year, more than 19 million tourists visited the country and authorities are optimistic that tourist arrivals would be even higher this year.

"This year, we are targeting 20.1 million tourists," he said after launching the Holiday in Malaysia Tourism Exhibition 2007 at Mid Valley Megamall yesterday.

The exhibition, which is being held at Level 3 of the shopping complex, ends today.

Mirza said domestic hotel guests also increased from 27.8 million in 2004 to 30 million in 2005. This was based on a survey which was carried out every two to three years.

"We will be conducting another survey this year."

Meanwhile, Mirza urged enforcement officers to keep a close watch on taxi drivers to ensure that passengers were not overcharged.

"We have received many complaints and enforcement has to be beefed up, especially in areas popular with tourists."

Source : NST
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