Malaysia woos Lankan tourists with anniversary bash

February 26 (LBO) – Malaysia will celebrate 50 years of independence in August this year and is hoping the revelry, travel deals and discounts will entice more Sri Lankans to visit. Last year the island attracted 559,603 tourists, a small increase on the 549,308 in 2005 and well below tourism ministry expectations of 600,000 tourists.

The country is hoping to attract 20.1 million tourists this year during the year long anniversary celebrations a three million increase over 2006, Adnan Mansor, Malaysia’s tourism minister said.

Of the targeted arrivals, Malaysia hopes for at least 27,000 tourists from Sri Lanka compared to last year’s 20,200 arrivals, Mansor told journalists in Colombo on Monday.

The average tourist spends about 600 dollars (2,100 ringgits) a day in Malaysia, while tourists in Sri Lanka spend an average of 85 dollars a day.

A total of 240 events have been lined up this year, from cultural dancing and parades to wildlife tours. Sri Lankans have also been offered 30-day ˜Visa on Arrival’ in Malaysia.

Sri Lankans have also been urged to apply for the ˜my second home programme’ that grants applicants under 50 years of