PETALING JAYA: Tourists are streaming back into the country and the industry is regaining stability based on latest statistics.
Deputy Culture Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Fu Ah Kiow said tourist arrivals were 81% higher in the first two weeks of June compared to the first two weeks of May, when the region was hard hit by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak.
There were 206,000 tourist arrivals in June compared to only 144,000 in May.
“The increase is a clear sign that tourists are confident of travelling,” he said.
Fu said there was a drop of 30% in arrivals between January and May with March, April and May being the worst-hit months.
“However, things picked up in the first two weeks of June with an 81% increase,” he said after a press conference on the Malaysian Theatre Festival 2003 yesterday.
He added that hotel occupancy had also increased.
Fu said the ministry together with other tourism agencies would carry out programmes to promote the country to attract more visitors.
This included promoting Malaysia as a meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition destination.
Speaking on Malaysian theatre, Fu said he would meet Deputy Information Minister Datuk Donald Lim as well as operators of private television stations to request coverage of the country’s performing arts activities and their performers.
He said this was important as people needed to appreciate theatre performances and not just watch them to pass time.
The festival will be held from July 31 to Aug 10 and will showcase arts groups from all over the country.
Also to be staged will be Malay, Chinese, Indian and English works chosen for their quality, message and originality while classes led by theatre personalities would be held for selected participants from the groups.
Most of the events would be held at the Malaysia Tourism Centre in Jalan Ampang while some would be staged at University Malaya, City Hall, Universiti Teknologi Mara and Muzium Negara.
Admission is free for these performances but the public will have to obtain passes to gain entry.
The passes can be obtained at the Actor’s Studio Bangsar, MTC and the Culture and Arts office both in Jalan Ampang and at the Tourist Information Centre in PWTC.
For more information, please call 03-2696 3224 or 03-2696 3269.
Did you find this article insightful?