Thursday, November 05, 2009

Malaysia to sell fine art, culture to world, says Yen Yen

Chairs are left empty for “ghosts”, as members of a Chinese Opera group perform during the Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival in Puchong near Kuala Lumpur August 23, 2009. — Reuters pic

Malaysia will start to promote its diverse arts and culture as a niche tourism product for fine arts lovers beginning next year.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said the target was well-to-do foreign tourists, especially Europeans who spend on fine living and invest in art collections.

She said this would include paintings, plays, architecture as well as its world-class orchestra symphony, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, besides folks music, songs and dances and cuisine.

Speaking to Malaysian journalists after hosting a luncheon for key Finnish tourism players here Wednesday, Dr Ng said Tourism Malaysia had also fixed July, August and September next year for the Malaysian Arts and Culture Festival.

Besides being well-known as a country of sunshine, Mother Nature and friendly people, she also wanted Malaysia to be known for its fine arts and culture.

“We want the world to know that we also have a great pool of talented people such as painters and performers.

“For instance, when they come for concerts and exhibitions, they can also spend a day learning about our batik painting, songket weaving or traditional dances, or maybe learn to cook one or two of our local dishes,” she said.

Dr Ng also said that well-known classical music conductor and tourism ambassador Datuk Ooi Chean See was instrumental in promoting the country’s fine arts and culture, especially to the European market.

On another matter, she said she would intensify promotion of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme among the Finns.

She was confident that Finland had a good potential for the MM2H programme, although to date, there were only four Finns out of the 13,949 participants of the programme.

Compared to its Asean neighbours, she said, Malaysia had more advantage in terms of its more relaxed policies to lure more foreigners to participate in the programme.

“One of the perks is to allow MM2H participants to purchase property that cost more than RM250,000,” she said, adding that those interested could now apply through the Malaysian embassies in their respective countries.

She said Malaysian ambassador to Finland Cheah Choong Kit would come up with a proposal on how to promote Malaysia among the affluent Finns.

Source : TMI
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