THE Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2007 campaign was considered successful with 20.8 million tourist arriving last year compared with 17.5 million in 2006, a 19.5% increase in arrivals.
Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said the Government spent RM250mil on the campaign, of which RM80mil alone was for promotions.
Tourism income last year was RM46bil which was a 27% increase compared with RM36.2bil in 2006, adding that tourists stayed longer in hotels with the average being 6.3 nights compared with 6.2 in 2006.
Azalina was answering a question by Khalid Abdul Samad (PAS – Shah Alam), who asked why only 21 million tourists visited Malaysia last year compared with 92 million visiting Thailand.
In a supplementary question, Khairy Jamaluddin (BN – Rembau) said one reason Malaysia lost out to Thailand in tourist arrivals last year was because there were 220 million flights into Thailand against 150,000 into Malaysia.
He asked the Government’s strategy to increase international direct flights into Malaysia.
Azalina noted that Malaysia Airlines had stopped direct flights from London to Langkawi and to Penang, while flights from London to Kuala Lumpur had been reduced from twice daily to once.
This resulted in connectivity problems and tourists would transit in Bangkok or Singapore, giving them an advantage, she said.
Source : STAR
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