Plan to lure Indons via education, health tourism

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 18 Sep 2004

PETALING JAYA: The Government plans to attract two million Indonesian tourists to Malaysia between now and the end of next year, especially through education and health tourism, said Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. 

“Indonesia is a big market. Our target is to get two million or 40% of the five million potential tourists,” he said. 

Ahmad Zahid said Indonesian tourist arrivals had increased by some 46% to 537,000 for the first eight months of the year compared with the same period last year and were expected to jump to almost 740,000 by December. 

“We want tourist arrivals from Indonesia to be the second highest after Singapore, which accounted for 5.9 million arrivals up to August,” he told reporters after arriving at the KL International Airport yesterday from Medan. 

He had officially launched AirAsia's flight from Kuala Lumpur to Medan on Thursday. 

Yesterday, AirAsia began offering its online promotional fare starting from RM49.99 one way to Medan. 

Ahmad Zahid said the ministry was working with the budget airline to bring in more tourists and with the Higher Education Ministry to promote education tourism. 

Local private hospitals, he added, were co-operating with their Indonesian counterparts to boost health tourism. 

In Kuala Lumpur, Indonesian travel authorities said the bombing incident that rocked Jakarta just over a week ago had not affected tourist arrivals in a big way. 

The Jakarta Tourism Office's head of marketing and international relations, Noorchamid A. Kahar, said figures from the tourism sector indicated that arrivals had dropped by less than 10%. 

Herman Lim, chief executive officer of Hotel Access Network Sdn Bhd, which represents the Indonesian Cultural and Tourism Board, said the fact that 80% of visitors to Jakarta were business travellers was a major factor in maintaining arrival figures. 

“Businessmen are very adventurous. They know the situation in Indonesia well,” he said at the 18th Matta International Travel Fair yesterday.  

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