- POSTED: 06 Jan 2014 15:55
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Malaysia has kicked off a large-scale, year-long tourism campaign to boost the country's struggling economy. “Visit Malaysia Year 2014” hopes to pull in 28 million tourists this year and put the country on the map as the go-to holiday destination.
PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia has kicked off a large-scale, year-long tourism campaign to boost the country's struggling economy.
“Visit Malaysia Year 2014” hopes to pull in 28 million tourists this year.
With hundreds of activities and festivals lined up, “Visit Malaysia Year 2014” wants to put the country on the map as the go-to holiday destination.
But the tourism outreach initiative is not just about selling Malaysia.
It is another step towards boosting the nation's economy, after a series of unpopular austerity measures including price hikes and slashes to subsidies.
Abdul Khani Daud, advertising director of Tourism Malaysia, said: "It is one of the national key economic programmes, whereby we want to achieve 36 million tourists by 2020. We are focusing on the luxury market to bring more people that can spend more money here to lift our income to the country."
Tourism is one of the country's largest contributors to foreign exchange earnings - and according to the government, it is an industry that is slowly but steadily been improving each year.
This is despite political rallies and ethnic and religion tensions making global headlines in the past few years.
In fact, the Tourism Ministry is so unperturbed by the reports, the theme for Visit Malaysia Year 2014 is "Celebrating 1Malaysia, Truly Asia" - focusing on the multicultural, harmonious Malaysia that has attracted tourists in the past.
Some tourists Channel NewsAsia spoke with lauded the presence of harmony and hospitality in the multicultural country.
But there were also tourists who felt there were still areas Malaysia could improve on, if it wants to pull in the tourist numbers it is after.
A tourist Channel NewsAsia spoke with said she was a victim of theft. Another tourist recounted seeing litter on the streets.
The Tourism Ministry said it is aware of these complaints and it has been taking steps to prepare the country for an influx of tourists - from running cleanliness campaigns to training taxi drivers to become tourism ambassadors.
There is a potential 76 billion ringgit (US$23 billion) in revenue riding on “Visit Malaysia Year 2014”.