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Wednesday May 5, 2010

Top 10 in most tourist arrivals

DUBAI: Malaysia has made it into the top 10 countries with the most tourist arrivals for 2009, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO) barometer.

Malaysia secured the ninth position, just below Turkey and Germany. In 2008, Malaysia was in 11th position.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said it was a great accomplishment.

“We are elated with this positive development. Malaysia is a kaleidoscope of cultures and I am sure it will continue to charm tourists,” she told Malaysian journalists after opening the Arabian Travel Mart (ATM) here on Tuesday.

ATM 2010 saw the participation of 120 delegations from 83 organisations including hoteliers, tour operators and representatives from the Tourism Board of five state governments.

This year also marks Malaysia’s 17th year of participation in the ATM – the largest trade and consumer travel show in the Gulf region.

Dr Ng led the delegation to sell Malaysia as a tourist destination to the Arabian market.

Based on the UNTWO’s website, France continued to lead in ranking in terms of tourist arrivals.

Dr Ng urged Malaysians, especially those involved in the tourism industry, not to be complacent and continue to strive harder to bring in more tourists.

“Previously, we were comfortable as there were not many competitors in our region. But now, we have Vietnam and Cambodia emerging fast as tourist lures,” she said.

Dr Ng said the tourism industry was the second-highest income-earner for the country. Last year, it generated RM52bil and it’s expected to hit RM53bil this year.

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