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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 4 -- With the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus anticipated to impact the number of Chinese tourists visiting Malaysia, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC), and the Selangor and Pahang governments today announced efforts to attract tourists from new markets.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi announced that the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign would be restructured to target new markets.
Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari in turn, said the spread of the virus was not only affecting tourist arrivals from China, but other countries, and as such, the state would focus on more arrivals from Arab nations, as well as Korea, Taiwan and several European countries this year.
He added that as tourists from Japan were still visiting Selangor, the state's ‘bon-odori’ programme would continue and be part of tourism promotions which will be heightened.
In this connection, Tourism Selangor general manager Azrul Shah Mohamad said based on data from previous years, Selangor normally receives tourists from China, Japan and Australia during this time of the year.
"We will ensure that the state government's target of receiving 7.8 million visitors this year will not be affected by the coronavirus situation", he added.
Meanwhile, Pahang Tourism, Environment and Plantations Committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin said the state would explore new tourist markets in South America and Russia to fill the void left by Chinese tourists.
Mohd Sharkar said Chinese tourists were among the largest groups of visitors to Pahang, at about 700,000 to a million people annually, "particularly those from Taipei who are known for their love of touring".
He said this during a press conference on the launch of the Simply Awesome short video competition for Pahang, held in conjunction with Visit Malaysia 2020 at the Tourism Pahang office in Kuantan today.
Mohd Sharkar added that the decision to target visitors from South America was apt given that his team had undertaken tourism promotions in several countries in the continent, including Argentina, in December last year.
On the video competition that will be held on a monthly basis from February to December, Mohd Sharkar said Tourism Pahang was offering a RM3,000 prize to each monthly winner.
Meanwhile, tourism industry players in Langkawi held a discussion today on ways to attract tourists to the island.
Also at the meeting was Kedah Youth and Sports; Tourism, Arts and Culture; and Entrepreneurial Development committees chairman Mohd Asmirul Anuar Aris who told reporters on the island that suggestions raised during the meeting included the provision of assistance to industry players involved in tourism promotions, such as the sharing of exhibition space costs between such players and relevant authorities.
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