TOURISM Johor has set a new target for its international tourist arrivals this year, from five million previously to eight million.
State tourism, environment, heritage and culture committee chairman K. Raven Kumar said the new target was set considering the reopening of more international borders around the world.
“It is a significant increase but we are confident that we can achieve it, especially as countries such as China have also allowed their citizens to travel.
“Johor has many unique tourism products to offer and we believe it will be able to attract both local and international tourists,” he said after an appreciation ceremony for industry players in Iskandar Puteri.
He added that theme parks, national parks and islands were among the attractions in Johor.
Raven said Tourism Johor was also set to host an array of events to attract more visitors, such as the Johor Majestic Festival, Johor International Food Festival and Nusantara Music Festival.
“We are also looking to get more visitors from Europe, the Middle East and South-East Asia as well as China and India.
“After two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, many countries are now actively promoting their places of interest to tourists.
“We have to do the same and focus on products that we already have, especially those related to eco-tourism,” he said.
Raven said Istana Besar Johor was also expected to be open in the second quarter of the year after receiving consent from Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar.
“This may also attract more visitors into the state,” he added.
Earlier during the event, Johor Tourism director Suhairi Hashim presented the achievements of the state last year.
According to the data, Johor received more than nine million international visitors last year, of whom seven million were Singaporeans.
“The highest number of visitors we received was from Singapore (7.26 million), followed by Indonesia (695,111) and the Philippines (169,776),” said Raven.
“We have also seen a significant increase in tourist arrivals last year following the reopening of the border, from only 431,891 visitors to 9.14 million,” he said.
However, he noted that it was still a far cry from pre-pandemic times as the state was able to attract 17 million visitors, including 13 million from Singapore in 2019.
“Moving forward, we hope to get the full cooperation of industry players to further boost the tourism sector,” he said.
He added that Johor aimed to see the arrival of at least 20 million visitors in 2026.
The ceremony also saw Tourism Johor launching its calendar for 2023 as well as the handing over of the Johor Tourism Strategic Plan for the years between 2023 and 2027.