KUALA LUMPUR: It was perhaps the most unforgettable welcome for a tourist when he was greeted with two complimentary return Coral Economy Class tickets on Etihad Airways upon his arrival here.
American student Olivier DeBruin was the lucky winner when he became the “50 millionth passenger” to walk through the ticket gates in KL Sentral yesterday.
“I was travelling from Australia to The Netherlands and had to stop here for a one-day transit. This is great!” said the 19-year-old.
DeBruin added that owing to such an unexpected surprise, he would be making another trip to Malaysia as soon as possible.
The event, organised by Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd (ERL), was graced by the mayor of Kuala Lumpur Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib.
In his address, Ahmad Phesal said the improvement of public transportation was extremely important to attract more tourists to the country.
“The ERL plays a vital role in promoting tourism as it is the first point of contact for visitors arriving in the city,” he said.
Ahmad Phesal added that the construction of the MRT would also significantly improve the coverage of the rail-based public transport in the Klang Valley. With its completion, tourists would be able to travel directly from KLIA to the Klang Valley.
Ahmad added that the country could expect an influx of tourists during Visit Malaysia Year 2014. He said tourism contributed 12% in total GDP last year.
“This year, we are targeting 50 million transit tourists. We are also working on prolonging their stay to more than 2.6 days,” he said.
Ahmad Phesal added that with the extension of the ERL terminal to KLIA2, he was confident that the country would soon receive its “100 millionth passenger” in less than 12 years.