Sudipta Dev – Mumbai
On the occasion of the Visit Malaysia Year (VMY 2014), Tourism Malaysia had recently brought a sales mission to five South Asian cities – Mumbai, Delhi, Kochi, Bengaluru and Colombo. In response to questions regarding security issues in Malaysia following missing plane incident, Dato’ Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, director general, Tourism Malaysia, assured, “Security is always maintained through international standards and monitored through various bodies, I can assure you that Kuala Lumpur Airport handles 40 million passengers every year and security is in place and visitors have nothing to fear.” He averred that while tourist arrivals from China has witnessed some postponement, but in other sectors it went back to normalcy. In 2013, as many as 650,989 Indians visited Malaysia, and Dato’ Mirza pointed out that they expect close to eight lakh tourists from India this year.
He mentioned that Malaysia is also an ideal destination for single women travellers. “Malaysia is a very safe country, you can travel alone or with a small child, freely. English is understood by everyone, there are also great food options,” he said, adding that there are also many interesting events that would be of interest to women travellers. For instance the Malaysia International Shoe Festival. “If you come for F1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix in March you can also see the shoe festival. For shopping, there is KL GP Sale for a month, to coincide with the F1 race. The Mega Sale happens in July, which ensures lot of bargains from 40 to 50 per cent. Finally there is the year-end sale,” he added.
Legoland theme park and Hello Kitty theme parks are popular holiday attractions for families in Johor Bahru. In June a new theme park is coming up – the Angry Bird theme park. “Johor is a short distance from Singapore, but if you have to stay at Singapore for a night at SGD 500 for the same amount you can stay for three nights at same category hotel in Johor Bahru,” said Datuk Tee Slew Kiong , chairman, Johor Tourism.
Malaysia is focusing on promoting as many as 200 major events that happen around the year to boost foreign tourist arrivals.