Malaysian Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor is leading a delegation on a seven-day mission to the United States and Canada beginning today to promote Malaysia as a top-of-the-mind tourist destination.
He is to launch the sales pitch in New York where he is expected to meet several tour operators and members of the media and then proceed to Canada to update tour operators on tourism development in Malaysia, besides undertaking product launches.
He is also scheduled to launch a Telekom Malaysia USA Inc and Tourism Malaysia (New York) prepaid phone card today and officiate an "Experience Malaysian Food & Discover Malaysia" programme in Vancouver, Canada, before heading south to Los Angeles to launch a Malaysia-Vietnam joint promotion with Deluxe & Travel First Vietnam Bank.
America is not among the top 10 tourist-generating markets for Malaysia, unlike Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, China, India, Japan, the Philippines, Australia and the United Kingdom, but according to Tourism Malaysia, the American market has proven to be a strong and viable venture for Malaysia as it is a growing market in terms of visitor arrivals.
For the period January to June 2007, Malaysia registered 107,260 visitors from the United States with a 30.9 per cent growth compared to the same period last year while tourist arrivals from Canada for the first six months this year registered an increase of 28.6 per cent, from 19,293 arrivals in 2006 to 24,811.
Tourism Malaysia Director-General Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab said key segments being promoted for the American and Canadian markets included leisure holidays, beaches and islands, eco-tourism, golfing, diving and angling as well as shopping.
He said the ministry would concentrate on long-haul tourists like the Americans and Canadians as the possibility of them staying longer in Malaysia was higher and they had bigger purchasing power.
According to statistics, the average American tourist spends about US$90.20 (RM316) per day and the average duration of the visit spans 8.7 days. Tourist receipts from the United States were estimated at over US$137 million (RM479.4 million) last year, and 50.1 per cent of the tourists were repeat visitors.
From January to June this year, Malaysia recorded 10.7 million visitors against estimated receipts of US$7 billion (RM24.4 billion), and some 107,260 of these visitors were from America.
The sales mission is strengthened by the fact that Malaysia was named the "Best Tourism Destination" last year by an American business magazine, The Global Traveler.
Source : Bernama
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