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Malaysia steps up tourism drive

MALAYSIA is striving to increase tourist arrivals in the country from 20.9 million last year to 22.5 million this year despite the global financial crisis.

The figure from major markets for January to September 2008 is 16.3 million, an increase of 4.4 per cent compared to the first nine months of last year.

Malaysia expects the banking meltdown and credit crunch to have a limited impact on visitor arrivals, coming mainly from the Asia-Pacific region.

In fact, the economic slowdown may even convert more tourist traffic from elsewhere to the Asia-Pacific region, says Tourism Malaysia's international marketing division director for South-east, North and East Asia, Madam Chong Yoke Har.

She says Malaysia's homegrown low-cost airlines are also pushing ahead with their expansion plans and this will help to attract more tourists to the country.

Speaking to reporters recently at the ITB Asia 2008 travel show here, she also highlighted the key steps for Tourism Malaysia to achieve its targets.

AsiaOne, Singapore

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