KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 (Bernama) -- The Culture, Arts and Tourism Ministry proposes to open tourism marketing offices in more than 30 major cities in the world as one of the strategies to draw more foreign tourists to Malaysia.
Minister Datuk Paduka Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said today the cities would include Ottawa, Rome, Helsinki, Oslo, Dublin, Bangalore and Kolkata.
Abdul Kadir was speaking to reporters after holding a meeting with more than 50 directors of the ministry's overseas offices as well as representatives of various tour agencies, Malaysia Airlines, Hoteliers Association of Malaysia and Malaysia Airports Bhd.
The four-day meeting which began on Monday discussed a wide range of tourism issues including current tourism trends, market performance and Tourism Malaysia operations.
Abdul Kadir also said the ministry would set up an operations room to monitor developments in the tourism industry and to map out appropriate action to overcome any problem.
Abdul Kadir also said stern action including the sack awaited tourism officers who did not discharge their duties effectively.
His ministry had also begun preparations for Visit Malaysia Year 2005 to 2006.
"We want to ensure that all parties including hotels, the transport sector, shopping complexes are ready with programmes for the two years."
Abdul Kadir said Malaysia's tourist industry which had developed rapidly over the years was suddenly affected by the SARS scare and the Bali bombing among others.
He said due to these developments the number of tourists visiting Malaysia dropped from more than 13 million to around 10 million last year.
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