Malaysian Tourist Arrivals Hit New High

KUALA LUMPUR ~ Malaysia attracted 20.88 million foreign visitors last year, a 19 percent rise, setting a new record and bringing in US$14 billion in revenue, Tourism Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said.

Tengku Adnan said he expected an even better performance for the 12 months of Visit Malaysia Year 2007 – held to attract visitors on the 50th year of its independence – which ends in August.

“In view of this, the government has revised the target for tourist arrivals for this year,” he told the state Bernama news agency, without giving any new figures.

Singapore Receives Record 10.3 million Visitors

SINGAPORE ~ Singapore’s tourism industry enjoyed a banner year in 2007 as a record 10.3 million visitors came to the city-state, the government said this week.

Last year’s visitor arrivals was up 5.4 percent over 2006 and surpassed the Singapore Tourism Board’s target of 10.2 million for 2007, the government agency said.

Tourism receipts in 2007 also set a new milestone of S$13.8 billion (US$9.65 billion), up 11.3 percent from the year before, it said.

Malaysia Bans Foreigners from Hotel Frontlines

KUALA LUMPUR ~ Malaysia will ban hotels from hiring foreigners in frontline positions, bringing them into line with airports, which are also subject to the order aimed at reducing migrant labor, an official said.

Victor Wee, secretary general for the Tourism Ministry, defended the directive on positions that involve direct contact with customers, saying hotels should not rely on cheap foreign labor.

“We want more Malaysians working as frontliners in hotels instead of foreigners. There are many Malaysians unemployed and employers should be prepared to pay more,” Wee said.

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