BANGKOK, Nov 12 – Some 1.7 million tourists from Thailand are expected to visit Malaysia next year, an increase from about 1.65 million tourists estimated for this year. Last year, some 1.56 million Thai tourists visited Malaysia. Next year’s target would not be very much different from this year as many countries had been promoting their countries to attract the Thais, said Mohamed Shahrir Hadzim, Deputy Director, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board’s Thailand and Myanmar Bureau.

He said apart from neighbouring countries such as Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos, Japan had also been actively trying to attract the Thais, noting that Japan provides free two weeks visa for the Thais. The low-cost airlines were also promoting value-for-money and budget tour packages, he told Bernama after a briefing on Malaysia’s tourism development and campaign at a networking session with the local Thai media at the Malaysian Embassy here yesterday.

He said about six million Thais are expected to travel overseas. As for tourists from Malaysia to Thailand, he said last year three million Malaysian tourists visited Thailand. He said this year Malaysia targeted to attract 28 million tourist arrivals that would generate RM76 billion for the country, and up to July this year, 25.7 million tourist arrivals had been recorded which generated spending of RM63.4 billion.

Malaysia is also launching a campaign to attract tourists next year, with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture designating next year as Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015 campaign or MyFest 2015 with the theme ‘Endless celebrations’ It would herald an array of events and happenings in the country all year long, including culture, shopping, festival, destination marketing, food and other themed events, he added.

He said the campaign would be launched on Jan 10, 2015 in Kuala Lumpur. The target set for MyFest 2015 is 29.4 million tourist arrivals spending RM89 billion. The festival was also a key driver and national mission to achieve the National Key Economic Areas’ goal of 36 million tourist arrivals and RM168 billion in tourist receipts by 2020, he said.

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