Thursday, October 30, 2008

Number of Egyptian tourists rise by almost 50%

The number of Egyptian tourists visiting Malaysia has increased by more than 48% for the first nine months of this year, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

“From January to September, we received 8,550 Egptian tourists compared with 5,163 tourists for the same period last year,” she said in a press conference on Tuesday.

Azalina, who is on a sales mission to Egypt, said 7,603 Egyptians visited Malaysia last year compared with 5,682 in 2006.

Egypt was a “high potential” tourism market and its tourists were big spenders as they stayed an average of 9.2 days and spent about RM7,000 each, she said.

Malaysia had a lot to offer Egyptian tourists including value-for-money destinations, culture diversity, comfort, security and an Islamic environment, she said.

“Malaysia is a vacation for families. It is even safe to bring all four wives,” she quipped.

Azalina said political stability was most important for Malaysia next to ensuring a high level of service.

“Tourism is about uniting people. We want Middle Eastern tourists to feel at home here,” she said, adding that availability of local Arabic cuisine and culture was another plus point.

Niche markets such as wellness and medical tourism, eco-tourism and education were also crowd-pullers with 341,288 medical tourists last year.

“Tourists can come on their own for medical treatment without going through travel agents,” she added.

She said a joint consultative agreement held early this year between the foreign ministers of both countries had helped boost the number of Egyptian arrivals.

Source : STAR
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