Thursday, September 02, 2010

Eco-tourism ranks high on Arab travel plans

Beyond the well-known destinations of Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Langkawi, Arab travellers appear to be keen on exploring Malaysia’s resort islands such as Redang, Perhentian and Tioman.

This was the outcome of a recent online survey, devised in a multiple-answer format, undertaken by Tourism Malaysia here.

It drew 4,172 respondents, including 3,536 United Arab Emirates (UAE) nationals, according to Mohamad Ibrahim Masri, Tourism Malaysia marketing manager for UAE, Gulf and Iran.

He said 1,471 respondents (35.25%) were in favour of island escapades, followed by vacationing at hill resorts like Genting Highlands, Fraser’s Hill and Cameron Highlands (1,139 respondents of 27.29%).

Arab tourists would also like to experience Malaysian culture as well as adventure with nature, such as those on offer in states like Sabah and Sarawak, he said.

On the type of activity they would indulge in on vacation in tropical Malaysia, 2,379 respondents (57.01%) picked ecotourism above shopping, spa and wellness programmes, diving and golfing.

Mohamad Ibrahim said: “You can see that ecotourism is high on the list, and this means enjoying nature and greenery.

“People in this part of the world live in an environment pretty much lacking in greenery, which can be found in abundance in Malaysia. So, it makes sense if they want to indulge in activities associated with nature when they go on vacation,” the tourism official explained.

Golfing garnered merely 319 positive responses of the 4,172 survey respondents.

Queried on festivals organised in Malaysia that they would likely attend, 911 respondents (21.83%) opted for the Fabulous Food 1Malaysia event, followed by Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival and Colours of Malaysia extravaganza.

A question on spending Ramadan in Malaysia was also featured in the survey.

A total of 2,663 respondents (63.82%) said they would like to experience the Ramadan night bazaar while 1,692 (40.55%) had savouring Malaysian food and delicacies in mind.

Source : STAR

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