Saturday, May 19, 2007

70,000 tourists expected at Colours of Malaysia festival

Some 70,000 tourists are expected to descend on the federal administrative centre next week for the Citrawarna Malaysia celebrations, a major event in the Visit Malaysia Year 2007 calendar.
The Citrawarna festival, or Colours of Malaysia, is themed Millions of Colours, Millions of Smiles, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

Showcasing the cultures and traditions of Malaysia’s many ethnic groups, the launch on May 26 will feature traditional dances such as the Orang Asli masked dance and the Sarawak warrior dance.

After a slow start earlier this year, the VMY campaign received a boost when the latest figures showed tourist arrivals had exceeded expectations. As at May 10, arrivals touched 8.9 million, or an average of 68,461 tourists a day, excluding day-trippers or those who stay for just one night.

The new figures signal that the target of 20.1 million tourist arrivals this year may be surpassed. VMY 2007 is expected to earn RM44.5 billion in foreign receipts.
At a press conference yesterday, Tengku Adnan said Citrawarna would introduce tourists to Malaysia’s arts and culture.

The celebrations will be launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on May 26 at 8pm.

The festival will run until June 10.

Its gastronomic equivalent, Citrarasa, kicks off on the same day and continues until June 24.

To date, some 7,000 tourism packages for Citrawarna have been sold in various countries, including Singapore, China and India.

Tengku Adnan also said his ministry was discussing the possibility of increasing the number of flights to Sarawak with the Transport Ministry, to give the state more exposure in the foreign tourism market.

He said room occupancy rates in major Sarawak cities have been lower than expected, while in Kuala Lumpur, Kuantan, Penang and Kota Kinabalu there was a shortage of rooms. He said more hotels should be built in these four cities to meet the demand from local and foreign tourists.

On another matter, he said the Transport Ministry had been informed that travel agents were acting as taxi touts at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, KLIA, and the licences of agents caught using illegal methods to attract customers would be revoked.

On the co-operation of government agencies like the Immigration Department, police and Rela in promoting Visit Malaysia Year 2007, Tengku Adnan said it was satisfactory, despite several unfortunate incidents.

The most recent was the detention of an Indian national, a crew member of a German production company filming a documentary here, on suspicion of being an illegal immigrant. The man was held at Rela headquarters for three hours until someone brought the passport he had left at his hotel.

Source : NST
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