Bid to woo tourists with cruisesBY JOHAN FERNANDEZ
NEW YORK: Malaysia is focusing on developing cruise tourism and yachting to attract high-end tourists from the United States, Canada and Europe, said Tourism Minister Dr Leo Michael Toyad.
He said cruise liners plying the Caribbean and the Mediterranean would have a “new playground” in the South-East Asian region, with routes beginning in the Andaman Sea and stopovers in Phuket and Langkawi.
They would pass through the Straits of Malacca, Java and around Borneo Island before ending in Manila Bay,
“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.
The number of local yacht owners had been increasing every year and there were now 14 marinas and yacht clubs in Malaysia with international class facilities, he added.
Dr Toyad is leading a mission to Canada and the United States, covering Vancouver, New York and Los Angeles, to promote Malaysia as a premier tourist destination.
The delegation also aimed to establish a wider network of contacts in the US and Canadian tourism industries.
“This mission is just the beginning of our concentrated efforts to educate travellers about what Malaysia has to offer,” Dr Toyad said.
“One of the programmes the country is promoting is the 'Malaysia My Second Home' that allows foreigners to stay in Malaysia for at least five years or more on a social visit pass and a multiple–entry visa.”
He said the Government had also relaxed the requirement for applicants to purchase landed property in Malaysia.
The Immigration Department had, to date, approved 172 applications from the United States.
For this year until April, 22 applications by Americans were approved.