'Malaysian unrest not to hit tourist inflow'

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Chennai, Feb 25 (UNI) The recent unrest in Kuala Lumpur involving ethnic Tamils will not impact tourist arrivals into Malaysia, according to a top Malaysian official.

Talking to reporters here as part of a road show to showcase the tourism potential of Malaysia, Tourism Malaysia Director, South Asia, Oceania, Middle East and Africa, Tuan Haji Azizan Noordin described the recent attack on ethnic Tamils as an isolated incident in a country having multi-racial populace.

''Basically, the issue was raised due to political motivations. It has been resolved now and the November incident will not impact tourist arrivals from India to Malaysia'', he added.

''In fact there has been a 30 per cent growth in tourist arrivals in November-December 2007, when compared to the tourist arrivals from India in 2006'', he added.

He said Malaysia was looking at 500,000 tourist arrivals from India this year as against 422,452 in 2007, which was a 51.4 per cent the growth when compared to 2006. This constituted 55 per cent in the leisure segment and 40 per cent business travellers.

''Of the total tourist arrivals from India, 35 per cent were from Chennai'', he added.

However, Mr Noordin ruled out issuing Visa on Arrival for those coming from Chennai, though it was being issued to people flying from New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore.

''We are at present reviewing the situation. The chances of overstay by people coming through Chennai (not residents of Chennai) are more'', he said and added that Malaysia, however, was issuing multiple entry visas for an year for all Indian travellers. UNI GV GD MSJ HS1723

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