KUALA LUMPUR: Tourists from the Commonwealth Independent States (CIS), which groups several countries of the former Soviet Union, spend 150% more than the average tourist in Malaysia.
Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said while the typical tourist spends just about RM2,000 when they visit Malaysia, those from CIS nations such as Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Slovenia and Kazakhstan spend about RM5,000 per person.
He said the number of visitors from the CIS is expected to be about 100,000 by year's end, a sharp rise from last year when only 5,000 tourists from the region visited the country.
They are expected to generate about RM500mil in revenue for the country, he said at the Kuala Lumpur Tourist Association's Deepavali and Hari Raya joint open house at the National Museum here yesterday.
Ahmad Zahid said tourists from the CIS countries were well off and provide a good tourism market for Malaysia.
They spend a lot of money here and even hotels in Langkawi are overbooked for the winter traffic, he said.
On the downside, however, Ahmad Zahid said that while these tourists had the money to spend, they faced problems of getting flights to Malaysia.
We are trying to solve this problem, he said, adding that his ministry was working with AirAsia to bring tourists from the CIS countries and Eastern Europe to KL from Bangkok.
He said tourism was Malaysias second biggest foreign exchange earner after manufacturing.
he said that there was also a need to increase the number of inbound tourists.
We are facing a deficit of five million tourists as there are about 20 million outbound tourists compared to 15 million visiting our country, he said.
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