Tourism Malaysia hopes to increase the number of Brazilian tourists to this country by seven to eight per cent from the 3,000 who came last year.
The agency's vice-president for Western USA and Latin America, Mazlan Araju, said the targeted increase also took into consideration the current global economic downturn and Influenza A(H1N1) pandemic.
"Tourism promotional efforts need to be stepped up, focusing on Malaysian culture, arts, food and shopping areas to make our country an attractive tourist destination," he added.
Mazlan was speaking to reporters when attending a Mega Familiarisation programme for a group of tour agents and media representatives from Brazil where they took part in weaving ketupat cases and preparing Raya delicacies like lemang, rendang and dodol at Kampung Wang Tok Rendong in Kuah, here, on Sunday.
Tourism Malaysia had simultaneously launched the Mega Familiarisation programme in conjunction with this year's Aidilfitri at six village homestay sites nationwide, involving more than 100 foreign tourists including media representatives and tour operators from 13 countries.
The homestay facilities involved are in Kampung Walai Tokou (Sabah), Kampung Santubong (Sarawak), Sungai Pasu (Pahang), Kampung Pachitan (Negeri Sembilan), Kampung Seterpa (Kelantan) and Kampung Wang Tok Rendong (Kedah).
Mazlan said he was working out an arrangement with the Malaysian embassies in the Latin American countries to promote Malaysia to the people in these countries.
He said Tourism Malaysia had also carried out promotional efforts when it participated in the Brazilian Association of Travel Agents Congress (ABAV) in Rio de Janeiro in October last year.
"The Brazilians find the Malaysian way of life, culture and traditions unique and interesting," he said, adding that this should be capitalised on with the right approach.
On the homestay programme in conjunction with Aidilfitri, Mazlan said it was to enable the participants to experience the celebration and village life such as tapping rubber and making handicrafts, learn the local culture and savour the food.
The tourists involved in the programme also come from the United States, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore, Korea, China, Taiwan and Vietnam.
Source : Bernama
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