Feel at home in Malaysia
The nation is gearing up to promote itself as a destination for medical tourism and a hotspot for business travellers.
The nation is gearing up to promote itself as a destination for medical tourism and a hotspot for business travellers
If you could spend just $ 900 (Rs 48,262). for a trip and still feel like a king, what would stop you? That's exactly why Malaysia has been and still is on the top of every Indian's getaway. With a total of 514,926 tourists from India in 2012 ( from January to September), which accounts for a 2.6 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2011, India is a top ten market for Malaysia.
Being a family destination also helps, says Zulkifly Md. Said, the director of Malaysian tourism, South Asia, West Asia and Africa Division.
" Malaysia, apart from being a good family destination, is also a country mostly preferred by women, as it's comparitively safer. The shopping, bicycle riding and diving activities make the country desirable for all age groups," says Said.
As much as $ 6 million have been kept aside by the tourism authorities of Malaysia in 2013 for India.
For South Asia, the total budget is eight to ten million US dollars.
The country, apart from luring Indians with its lush green forests and serene beaches also hosts events such as the rain forest music festival which attracts around 3,000 foreign visitors every year. Also, international concerts and big names such as Jennifer Lopez came down to Malaysia last year and it proved to be a major crowd puller.
" We are looking forward to widen our tourism horizons to include medical tourism and incentive travels for business travelers," points out Said. For instance, in the Malaysian homestay programme, you will get to experience life in a kampong or a traditional village.
Apart from housing spas such as Spa Village at Pangkor Laut Resort on Pangkur Laut Island, Malaysia's cuisine is also worth exploring. You can join a culinary tour where you can be a part of a cooking workshop or go on a market tour to shop for local ingredients. Also, foodies may want to be a part of the annual food and fruits fiesta, usually held in July, to learn about the country's fare.
FOREIGN PATIENTS also consider Malaysia a wise choice for treatment due to the state- of- the- art private medical centres in the country. " After a surgery or during the recuperation period, these patients become tourists, enjoying a spot of sightseeing, playing a round of golf or two, or going for spa treatments," says Said.
But the country is yet to explore the prospect of Indian tourists heading to Malaysia for treatment.
" English is widely spoken in Malaysia. So Indians do not find communication as a big issue," adds Said.
Also, Malaysia's first international theme park, Legoland opened in September.
With over 40 interactive rides, shows and other attractions, it is on its way to become a favourite among Indians.
What makes Legoland different from other popular theme parks? Said has an immediate answer, " Well, we do not see other theme parks around the tourist destinations in the world as competition. Legoland caters to every age group, and also its proximity to Singapore will make it a perfect stop- over for tourists who want to experience both Malaysia and Singapore in the same trip." Malaysia also received an award by CNN for being the fourth best shopping destination in the world behind New York, London and Tokyo. Shopping, relaxation, entertainment- you name it and Malaysia hands it over to you.
MALAYSIA IN NUMBERS
24.7million: Number of world tourists who visited Malaysia in 2011
Malaysia has been the ninth most- visited country in the world for three consecutive years ( 2009- 2011 ), according to the UN World Tourism Organisation
$ 19 billion: Malaysia's tourism turnover in 2011, which represents an increase of $ 600 million against the previous year's level. Tourism is the country's third largest source of foreign exchange earnings.
36 million and $ 52.8 billion: Malaysia's targets for tourist arrivals and tourism turnover respectively, by 2020