GEORGE TOWN: Malaysia is confident of achieving the 28Â million tourist target this year, with 16.1 million recorded as at July, which
is a 9.7 per cent increase compared to the same period last year, said Tourism Deputy Director-General (Promotions) Datuk Azizan Noordin.
He said despite the impact of the recent MH370 and MH17 tragedies on theÂ country’s tourism sector, they managed to turn it around by changing theÂ marketing strategy in July.
“There was a drop in tourists from China after the incident, therefore weÂ focused our promotional efforts on South Asian countries such as India and SriÂ Lanka, the Middle East and Europe,” he told reporters after the Asean ExploreÂ Quest Malaysia 2014 gala dinner here.
He said to increase the number of tourists from China, three speciallyÂ chartered flights from Wuhan and Chengdu were launched from July to October inÂ Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi and Penang, which had recorded 4,000 passengers so far.
Chinese tourists make up the third highest number in the country, withÂ 997,300 people while Singaporeans make up the highest number with 8,236,079Â people, followed by Indonesians (1,583,786 people).
Azizan is confident the numbers would increase through prestigiousÂ programmes such as the currently ongoing 1Malaysia Year End Sale in Kuala LumpurÂ and the International Dragon Boat Festival in Penang next month.
“Recently, some 60,000 people took part in an international marathon at theÂ Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge in Penang. This is a good developmentÂ and we are excited to see the final record (of tourists) by year’s end,” heÂ said.
He said this would help encourage 29.4 million tourists to visit MalaysiaÂ next year through Malaysia Year of Festival (MyFEST) in 2015.
Earlier, he said a total of 100 individuals including celebrities, mediaÂ practitioners and tour agents from 10 Asean countries took part in a week-longÂ tour programme in Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Negeri Sembilan and Penang which startedÂ Nov 14.
“Some of them are radio announcers and bloggers who have their own followersÂ and influence to promote our country,” he added.-BERNAMA