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Malaysia targets Sri Lanka’s leisure travellers
Thursday, September 04, 2008 , By Dianne Silva, Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka

The Malaysian High Commission and Tourism Malaysia, in a bid to harvest Sri Lanka’s outbound tourist traffic announced the launching of their marketing programme which intends to target Sri Lanka’s leisure traffic.

As a first step of this plan a product presentation and interactive business session with the travel trade was conducted last morning. Director of Tourism Malaysia Manoharan Periasamy said that this session yielded good results with over 100 Sri Lankan travel agents showing interest in promoting Malaysia as a travel destination.

Periasamy is leading a 14 member delegation from Malaysia comprising of travel agents, tour operators and members of the hospitality industry and hopes to provide an opportunity for members of the Malaysian and Sri Lankan trade fraternities to explore mutual business prospects. Malaysia views Sri Lanka as an emerging market and hopes to capitalize on this information in order to boost the leisure traffic inflow from south East Asian countries. Sri Lanka at present registers the 3rd largest inflow of tourists from the region.

Periasamy pointed out that Malaysia was easily accessible from Sri Lanka considering that 13 direct flights a week are being offered by the two carriers; SriLankan Airlines and Malaysian Airlines. Furthermore, travel within the country is unproblematic considering the two domestic carriers; Air Asia and Firefly operate flights within the country. Further Malaysia is a hospitable destination for tourists with its many theme parks, eco tourism sites and unique cuisine.

From 2006 to 2007 tourism to Malaysia from Sri Lanka grew by 58.6% with over 31,000 tourists travelling to Malaysia in 2007. In the 7 months from January to July of this year over 24,000 tourists reportedly travelled to Malaysia and overall Malaysia earned approximately 15 billion US dollars though tourism. Of this number 74.5% comes from the Asian region.

Malaysia, as a shopping destination is even more appealing to the Sri Lankan traveler and Periasamy noted that the availability of branded goods and electronic goods at lower prices would entice more tourists. Furthermore he said that the unique shopping environments such as China town and the night markets within the country which allowed for bargaining would ensure vacationers would return home with good deals. Contd.on B3

Malaysia targets...

In passing Periasamy also mentioned the “Malaysia my second home” programme which allows for foreigners wishing to live a meaningful and fruitful life in Malaysia to obtain a 10 year multiple visa. This would eventually enable these persons to educate their children in institutions of higher learning within the country and in this respect Periasamy revealed that the country had many branches of foreign institutions and over 700 students from Sri Lanka itself were presently studying there.

In addition to Malaysia being an ideal leisure destination the Director of tourism also pointed out the welcoming nature of Malaysia towards the cooperate traveler. International hotel chains such as the Taj, Hilton and Club Med guarantee five star accommodations for the business traveler.

When questioned on why the visa on arrival was abolished to Malaysia and if this would in turn effect the expected inflow of tourist; the Malaysian High Commissioner Roslie Ismail and Periasamy were in agreement that this would not significantly effect the inflow of planned travelers since they would generally ensure their visa confirmation prior to entering the country. Periasamy indicated that the prevailing on-arrival visa was done away with due to the constant misuse of it by persons using Malaysia as a transit for their illegal activities as well as overstaying their welcome. He jokingly added that he did not blame them considering the beauty of Malaysia and its pleasant living conditions while observing that in keeping with its theme “Malaysia Truly Asia” the country is truly a melting pot of cultures with various Asians making their home in the country. The Political stability and the availability of five star accommodation at lower prices makes Malaysia the ideal travel destination.


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