The Tourism Ministry will work to increase direct flights from more countries as it pushes to meet its tourist spending target of RM61bil this year, said its minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.
Dr Ng said her ministry had exceeded the RM55bil tourist spending target set under its Key Performance Indicator (KPI) last year and would be coming up with various strategies to meet the RM61bil set for it this year.
She said the ministry would work to expand existing markets and open new ones to meet the target but one of the problems it faced was the lack of accessibility.
“There is a big wave of tourists from Britain, Australia and New Zealand that we can tap but we still do not have direct flights by their national carriers.
“We need to do something to strengthen the accessibility (from these destinations),” she told reporters after attending the MCA Chinese New Year open house here yesterday.
Dr Ng said the ministry would also be focusing on attracting long stay visitors especially from Europe and for this it would come up with events that would help draw them to Malaysia.
She said the Cabinet had agreed to waive the need for visas for Taiwanese visitors to help attract more tourists from that country while the number of tourists from China was expected to continue to grow this year.
Dr Ng said the Egyptian unrest would have little impact on tourism as tourist arrivals from the country was low.
The main markets for Malaysia in the Middle East were Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, she added.
Source : STAR
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