Last year, India was the sixth top tourist generating market for that country

Malaysia hopes to host about eight lakh Indian tourists this year, which is being observed by Tourism Malaysia as Visit Malaysia Year.

At a press conference on the sidelines of a sales mission aimed at promoting Visit Malaysia Year campaign here on Wednesday, Dato’ Azizan Noordin, the Director General (Planning), Tourism Malaysia, put the expected total tourist inflow to the country during the year at 28 million generating revenue to the tune of 76 billion Malaysian Ringgit (RM). The aim was to double the tourist flow to Malaysia by 2030, he said.

Last year, 6.50 lakh Indian tourists visited Malaysia, thus maintaining its position as the sixth top tourist generating market for that country. Tourism Malaysia has 31 full-fledged offices across the globe with India accounting for three offices in Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi.

Malaysia, Mr. Noordin said, with 25.7 million tourists, remained tenth among the most visited nations in the world and second behind only China in Asia.

Pitching Malaysia as the destination to be at in the Visit Malaysia Year, Mr. Noordin said more than 50 major events await tourists across the year. He said that the potential target areas of Tourism Malaysia including leisure trip, ecotourism, wellness tourism, education tourism, incentive travel, sports, luxury and high-end travel, shopping and honeymoon packages should be able to attract Indian tourists.

The previous editions of Visit Malaysia Year attracted 7.40 million visitors in 1990 and 7.20 million in 1994 before making a quantum jump to 21 million in the 2007.

Describing Formula One racing as an event to be experienced at least once in a life time, he invited tourists for the F1 Malaysia Grand Prix. Mr. Noordin said it was not a one-day event as the circuit activities were being organised round the year.

Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix, Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia professional golf tournament, and CIMB golfing challenge were the other attractions for sport aficionados.

Colours of Malaysia and Borneo cultural festival would keep the cultural enthusiasts interested while for foodies there is the three-month-long food fests. For music lovers, Malaysia has the rain forest world music fest in Sarawak, Sunset music fest in Sabah, and the Penang world music festival. Kuala Lumpur would be a shopper’s delight while there is the international shoe festival from March 27-29 participated by more than 800 shoe manufacturers.

The press conference concluded with a brief parade of Malaysian dancers dressed in colourful costumes that were designed from the traditional dresses of various races, including the Malays, Indians, Chinese, Portuguese, and the ethnic and indigenous people of Malaysia, that co-exist in Malaysia.

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