Saudi tourists continue to patronize Malaysia

410More than 73,000 Saudis visited Malaysia between January and September 2013, according to Ahmad Al-Jahsyi, overseas director and tourism consul of Tourism Malaysia for Saudi Arabia, Yemen, the Levant and North Africa.

He said that most Saudis who travel to Malaysia belong to the younger generation, with over 55 percent between the ages of 25 and 34. Saudis visitors stay in the country on average between nine and 13 nights, he said.

Al-Jahsyi told Arab News in an interview that the government is targeting a total of 28 million tourist arrivals and $23.3 billion in tourist receipts under the ‘Visit Malaysia Year’ (VMY) 2014 program.

The government targets receiving 36 million tourist arrivals and $56 billion in tourist receipts by 2020 under the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan (MTTP) 2020, which is part of the National Key Economic Areas (NKEA).

“The country has never been more welcoming to both international and domestic tourists than during 2014, which is primed to be another significant year for the country’s tourism industry, as it will be the fourth time it is celebrating ‘Visit Malaysia Year’,” he said.

He added that the VMY 2014’s theme is “We are the Host.”

“Be it for honeymoon, family vacations, eco-tourism, medical tourism or even for education, Malaysia has always had something to offer for everyone,” he said.

He added that Saudis prefer Malaysia because it is a Muslim country, where halal food is plentiful and the shopping experience, hotels and infrastructures are of world class standards. Other reasons include the many tourist attractions that Malaysia has, as well as its value for money.

Popular hangouts for Saudi tourists include Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya (Sunway) and Johor Bahru, islands and beaches like Penang, Langkawi and Kota Kinabalu, and the Genting and Cameron Highlands

“Of course, there are plenty of other hidden gems waiting to be explored, such as Redang Island and the Banjaran Hotsprings,” Al Jahsyi said.

There are many highlights planned for the months of February and March.

The Gong Xi Fa Chai event (Chinese for “happy new year“) will celebrate the “Year of the Horse” (part of the Chinese zodiac) at the Malaysia Chinese New Year Open House Celebration 2014 in Taiping, Perak. It is organized by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia.

In addition, kite-flyers from more than 30 countries will take part in the 19th World Kite Festival (Festival Layang-Layang Sedunia), displaying their skills with their colorful kites gliding across the Pasir Gudang sky.

The festival site will also have the Kite Museum. It is organized by Pasir Gudang Municipal Council from Feb. 19 to 23.

The Shopping Malaysia Secretariat of Tourism Malaysia will hold the annual 2014 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix, which is held in conjunction with the 1Malaysia Grand Prix Sale 2014, where shops offer discounts from March 15 to Apr. 6.

The Malaysian Nature Society will organize Raptor Watch 2014 at the Tanjung Tuan PNB Ilham Resort at the Negeri Sembilan, where visitors will be able to see migratory birds of prey fly over Tanjung Tuan.

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