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“Art tourism is great in Malaysia as it is tax- and hassle-free”, says Malaysia Minister of Tourism

As Malaysia celebrates the start of the 1Malaysia Contemporary Art Festival in Langkawi, Malaysia Minister of Tourism Dr Ng Yen Yen emphasized the fact that Malaysia is the easiest place in Southeast Asia to acquire a piece of art…

LANGKAWI- Malaysia’s daily New Straits Times (NST) reported that Malaysian Minister of Tourism Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen considers art tourism as a successful product for foreign travellers. Not because of a vibrant art community living in the country but  because of the fact that buying art is tax- and hassle-free.

According to the NST, the minister declared that the Malaysian government maintains an open and liberal policy on artworks that are bought by foreigners and tourists. “Our artworks are tax-free and buyers do not have to check whether they can take them back to their countries. Therefore, Malaysia is a good destination for art tourism,” said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen after opening the Langkawi edition of the 1Malaysia Contemporary Art Festival (1MCAT) at Four Points Gallery in Sheraton Langkawi Beach Resort a few days ago.

Dr Ng said buying art in some Asian countries, such as Myanmar, China and Vietnam, was not easy because some works would not clear Customs as they were considered as national heritage. She said 1MCAT, now in its third year, had been successful in building the country’s reputation as an art destination. The price for masterpieces was also drawing higher bids every year, she added.

Art tour packages and a special art gallery catalogue listing down 54 galleries nationwide had been created to boost the event.

Dr Ng urged artists, galleries, schools, hoteliers and those in the tourism industry to work with the government to promote local art. “We also hope those involved in 1MCAT will follow up with the ministry and provide us the art sale figures so we can have a clear indication of how much our art is worth and faring.”

1MCAT, which runs until September, is organised by the ministry to establish the country as a destination for art tourism and to provide local artists a platform to showcase their work. Apart from Kedah with Langkawi Island, the States of Penang, Malacca, Pahang, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak are also organising the festival events.

(Source: New Straits Times)

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Luc Citrinot a French national is a freelance journalist and consultant in tourism and air transport with over 20 years experience. Based in Paris and Bangkok, he works for various travel and air transport trade publications in Europe and Asia.

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