ISTANBUL, Oct 31 (Bernama)– Efforts will be intensified to attract tourists from Turkey, Romania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria and Armenia now that Tourism Malaysia has reopened its office here.
Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz expects Turkish tourist arrivals to Malaysia will increase during Visit Malaysia Year 2014.
“Last year, 9,909 Turkish tourists visited Malaysia, up three percent. We are targeting 13,000 Turish tourists next year,” he told Bernama after opening the Tourism Malaysia office on Level 20, Harmiz GIZ Plaza, here on Wednesday.
A Tourism Malaysia office was opened here in 2002 but was closed in 2009. It was reopened in 2011 and headed by its director Bahruddin Sulaiman.
Nazri said although dissatisfied with the number of Turkish arrivals, the ministry is intensifying the promotion of travel packages especially Muslims travel packages.
Tourism Malaysia also conducted a more aggressive marketing strategy with focus on tourist interests by offering beautiful beaches, nature reserves and a paradise for shoppers.
“For Turkish tourists, we focus on Sabah and Sarawak which are famous for its nature offerings, Langkawi and Terengganu which have beautiful beaches.”
Nazri is on a mission to promote Visit Malaysia Year 2014 in Turkey, Romania and London until Nov 5.
Turkey is ranked 7th as a location of choice for world travelers while Malaysia is ranked 10th.
Despite being in that position, Malaysia is able to compete with Turkey to attract world travelers by offering travel packages unavailable here.
Nazri said the currency exchange, cheap travel packages and friendly service are among factors that attract tourists to Malaysia.
“Therefore, Malaysia is confident of achieving the target of 28 million tourist arrivals next year.”
He said at present, there are seven direct flights from Istanbul to Kuala Lumpur by Malaysia Airlines and Turkish Airlines.
“I will ask low cost carrier AirAsia to offer more flight options to Turkish tourists so that they can come to Malaysia.”