Malaysia Targets One Million Tourist Arrivals From India In 2017
NEW DELHI: Malaysia aims to attract one million tourists from India this year and has stepped up its tourism promotion efforts to achieve the ambitious target.
"This year, we hope to achieve high targets from India, as much as one million arrivals," Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said at the inaugural ceremony of South Asia Travel and Tourism Exchange (SATTE) in New Delhi on Tuesday evening.
Mohamed Nazri said the target was huge but "achievable with the full support of our partners" in the travel industry in India.
The three-day SATTE travel fair, starting Wednesday, was jointly opened by India's Minister of State for Tourism and Culture Mahesh Sharma and Mohamed Nazri.
The visiting Malaysian delegation includes officials from the Tourism and Culture Ministry, Tourism Malaysia, state representatives and members of the travel industry.
India ranks as the sixth biggest source of tourists for Malaysia, with 722,141 Indian visitors recorded in 2015.
Malaysia received 540,530 Indian tourists between January and October last year, according to the latest statistics available.
Malaysia has further eased its visa procedures to boost tourism in 2017. The government had last year introduced an e-visa facility that enables issuance of single-entry visas within 24 to 48 hours.
Malaysia also recently announced visa-free travel for Indian nationals who live abroad. The measure is targeted at the millions of non-resident Indians based in places like the Arabian Gulf countries, Singapore, Britain, Australia and North America.
Malaysia has a robust programme for destination promotion and marketing this year to woo visitors from India.
"India has long been viewed as an important market for Malaysia. The largest Indian diaspora outside of India resides in Malaysia and they are our biggest ambassadors to promote Malaysia to the world," the minister said.
Mohamed Nazri said Malaysia's focus was on sustainable tourism and the country offered many niche products that would appeal to Indian travellers.
These include shopping, luxury travel, sports tourism, destination weddings and honeymoon.
"Malaysia is blessed to have many natural and heritage sites worth visiting, and we are pleased to share the four Malaysian sites recognised by Unesco. They are Kinabalu National Park in Sabah, Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak, Malacca and George Town cities and the archaeological heritage site of the Lenggong Valley," he said.