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Najib: Expect fewer tourists with global slowdown Print E-mail
Thursday, 04 December 2008 16:12

PUTRAJAYA: The tourism industry is facing bleak times due to the global economic slowdown.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the decline was inevitable as there were growing concerns over the world economy, besides security and safety issues.

“We cannot insulate tourism prospects from what is happening globally in terms of economic conditions.

“Nevertheless, the Government will strengthen efforts to promote the country and emphasis will be given to the convention and exhibition sector of the industry,” he said after chairing the Cabinet Committee on Tourism meeting yesterday.

Najib said this year’s projected tourist arrivals of 22.5 million was expected to fall short by 500,000.

“We are hoping to get 20 million visitors next year, and this is with aggressive promotion. Otherwise, we anticipate the figure to be around 18 million,” he added.

He said the committee had agreed to the establishment of the Malaysian Convention and Exhibition Bureau (Myceb) as a one-stop centre to co-ordinate the needs of convention and exhibition organisers who wanted to bring their programmes and activities to Malaysia.

He said the bureau which would have the co-operation of relevant ministries, agencies and the private sector, would draw up attractive customised incentives for organisers, adding that a launching grant of RM5mil had been set aside to launch the bureau.

“The committee has also asked the Tourism Ministry to come up with a working paper on how to make the Malaysia My Second Home programme more attractive and effective.

“At present, we hear of the constraints that programme participants are facing and we want it to be revamped,’’ he said.

Najib said among the complaints from foreigners were that they were unable to take up part-time work and the issue of investments and funds permitted.

Tourism Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said said there would be more flexibility awarded to participants of the Malaysia My Second Home programme, particularly concerning purchases of properties and bringing in funds into the country.

 

Source: The Star



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