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Malaysia hopes to attract more Chinese tourists this year: Nazri

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 (Bernama) -- The government is increasing efforts to attract more tourists from China this year, says Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

He said Malaysia lost some 540,000 Chinese tourists last year, following the tragedy involving Malaysia Airlines MH370 which went missing while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8.

"Besides expanding to new markets, our expansion of marketing activities will still be on the China market. If we can improve a bit on the current market and tourists arrivals in 2014, probably we can get the 29 million target (of tourists this year)," he said.

Mohamed Nazri was speaking to reporters after attending the Tourism Malaysia Overseas Directors Meeting 2015 here today.

The Boeing 777-200ER was carrying 152 Chinese nationals when it vanished from the radar.

The fate of all 239 passengers on board is still unknown although it has been officially announced that its flight path ended in the Southern Indian Ocean.

Mohamed Nazri explained that Chinese tourists arrivals dropped 35 per cent in May and June last year, respectively, following the MH370 incident but had grown positively since October.

"It's a good sign the Chinese are coming back. I think if we aggressively market Malaysia in China, next year the figure from China will be better," he said.

The government hopes to record 29.4 million tourist arrivals this year, with a revenue of RM89 billion.

Meanwhile, the five-day meeting which started on Jan 9, focused on, among others, marketing programmes to promote the Malaysia Year of Festivals (MyFest 2015).

About 50 signature events have been identified for promotion this year, including the six Malaysia Open House Celebration, Rainforest World Music Festival, Pesta Gendang, International Mask Festival, [email protected] during Ramadan and Royal Floria Putrajaya 2015.

Themed 'Endless Celebrations', MyFest 2015 is expected to spur the tourism industry to greater heights, benefit all sectors within the industry and stimulate the country's economic growth.

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