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Marine tourism the next big attraction in Malaysia

Marine tourism is the next big attraction in Malaysia with a new focus on cruise, yachting and sailing…

Marine tourism is the next big attraction in Malaysia with a new focus on cruise, yachting and sailing, Tourism Minister Dr Leo Michael Toyad said.

Malaysia and its neighbours could be the new playground for cruise liners beginning from Yangon in the Andaman Sea, with stopovers in Phuket, Langkawi, passing through the Strait of Melaka, Java, around the Borneo Island and ending in Manila Bay, he told a news conference.

A regional meeting was held last month to discuss the framework for the idea.

To promote cruise tourism, we have been working with some local tour agents and foreign passenger companies to bring cruise liners to our ports. To date, many major cruise liners have called on Port Klang, Penang, Langkawi, Kuantan and Kota Kinabalu, he said.

Yachting or sailing is another high-yield marine leisure activity.

The number of Malaysian yacht owners has been increasing every year and the number of marina has increased over the past 20 years in Langkawi, Penang, Lumut, Port Klang and Kota Kinabalu.

At present there are 14 marinas and yacht clubs in Malaysian waters with international class facilities.

Dr Toyad is leading a three-city tour of Vancouver, New York and Los Angeles to aggressively promote Malaysia as a premier tourist destination in North America which has been ignored for the past five years.

This mission is just the beginning of our concentrated effort to educate travelers about what Malaysia has to offer and why it is known as the Gem of Southeast Asia, he said.

Malaysia`s revenue from tourism increased from RM21.3 billion in 2003 to RM29.6 billion last year. (US$1=RM3.80)

The mission includes seminars on tourism in Malaysia, meetings with travel trade members, travel marts, and cultural shows.

It also showcases a graceful collection of contemporary batik by the young and talented Malaysian designer, Nazleen Noor. Eight Malaysian beauties were flown to model her designs.

In Los Angeles, Dr Toyad will be holding discussions with filmmaking companies and producers to promote Malaysia as a film-making destination.

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