OSLO: Tourism Deputy Minister Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai said his ministry had taken note of the feedback given by European tourists to attract more of them to Malaysia.
Steps were being taken to provide more alternatives for the tourists, he added.
The long flying hours and one or two transits to arrive at their choice destinations have been identified as hurdles for more Europeans to holiday in Malaysia.
The monsoon season in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia at the end of the year, which coincides with Winter in Europe, is also another dampener for Europeans to enjoy ecotourism and diving in Malaysia.
Lim said the ministry, together with the respective state governments, were in the process of promoting ecotourism and island resorts in the west coast.
This included Pangkor Island in Perak, Bujang Valley in Kedah, Royal Belum in Grik, Perak, Endau Rompin National Park in Pahang and the seaside along Negri Sembilan.
"Travelling to these states from Kuala Lumpur is nearer and faster," said Lim who arrived here on Tuesday for a one-day travel seminar to promote Visit Malaysia 2007 and beyond.
He said European travellers spent an average of 10 nights in Malaysia,
adding that 30% of them came for ecotourism while another 30% to the island resorts.
"We have targetted to attract a total of 111,000 tourists from the
Nordic countries - Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden this year," said Lim.
Earlier (on Tuesday morning)in Helsinki, Tuomas Mantysaari from a company, Matkantekijat-Tourplanners, said Malaysia was considered "far away" when Lim asked whether Finnish companies provide holidays abroad as perks for their employees.
Mantysaari, who is the company's managing director,, said holidaying abroad should be at least a week and too long hours of flying and transits would mean less time for relaxation or enjoyment.
Cheaper air tickets from Helsinki to Thailand was also another reason for travellers to chose Thailand, said Jaana Nystrom, director of sales and production from a company, Helin Matkat here.
Source : STAR
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