GENTING HIGHLANDS: The Culture, Arts and Tourism Ministry is attracting Japanese tourists by making Malaysia their summer home.
Its Minister Datuk Paduka Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said that homestays and golf, which are among the favourite pastimes of the Japanese, would be promoted more aggressively in Japan.
Malaysia hoped to see Japanese arrivals touch one million by 2005.
Kadir said he realised the potential of the Japanese market during a recent visit to Japan with Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
“Japanese arrivals increased from 288,000 in 1999 to 500,000 last year.
“By next year, or at the latest in 2005, the target of one million arrivals should be realised,” he said after attending the first anniversary of First World Hotel and Plaza at Genting Highlands yesterday.
“Now that the SARS scare is over, hoteliers should give a grace period of three months by allowing tourists and tour operators to enjoy discounts and other privileges provided during the hard times,” he added.
Kadir said the ministry had also set a target to attract English-speaking tourists and those from Islamic countries like Turkey, Iran and Pakistan.
He commended Resorts World Bhd and Genting Highlands for regularly organising world-class entertainment.
Resort World Bhd executive vice-president Lee Choong Yan said of the 1.9 million guests who stayed at First World Hotel, 800,000 were foreigners.
Among the entertainment in store at Genting Highlands are the Ambang Merdeka show on Aug 30, Lady Salsa, a musical group from Cuba in September, and another international show in October.
Towards the end of the year, Hari Raya Puasa, Christmas and New Year concerts will be held.
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