Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Malaysia Can Be Winter Getaway Destination

Malaysia is an ideal getaway destination for tourists from Finland during winter, Malaysian ambassador here Syed Sultan Idris said.

Urging Malaysian tour operators to set up joint ventures with their counterparts in Finland, he said the embassy had targeted some 25,000 tourists from Finland for the on-going Visit Malaysia Year 2007 campaign.

"They should take advantage of the opportunity of the favourable low exchange rate of the ringgit against the Euro and also the "getaway" to the hot and sunny regions for the Finns from the extreme cold and dark season from November to January," he told Bernama.

About 22,000 Finnish tourists had been to Malaysia this year, enticed by the "Malaysia Truly Asia" call.

With the opening of the embassy in 2004, the number of tourists from Finland to Malaysia has grown steadily from 11,308 in 2004 to 13,172 in 2005 and 19,000 last year.

"We will continue to work with the local tour operators in Finland, to introduce the Malaysian culture, flavours and food to the Finns and to promote direct links between Helsinki and Kuala Lumpur," said Syed Sultan, who hosted a reception here last week in conjunction with the 50th Merdeka celebrations.

He took the opportunity to highlight Malaysian cuisine and cultural performances to the 150 guests comprising diplomats, government agency officials, corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, travel agents and print and media operators.

He said the warm and friendly Malaysia-Finland bilateral ties had been strengthened with the establishment of the embassy in November 2004, followed by exchange of visits, participation in international meetings organised in Finland and student exchange programmes.

The visits from Malaysia included the state visit of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in September 2005, working visit by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to attend the 6th Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) Summit in September 2006 and working visit by Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar to attend the Helsinki Conference of the Friends of the Helsinki Process in September 2005, he said.

Apart from tourism, Syed Sultan said, the main areas of cooperation that he was working on were education and biotechnology.

Source : Bernama
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