Tourism forum ideal to promote state

THE Asean Tourism Forum (ATF), which will be held in Johor Baru in January next year, is a great platform for the state government to promote Visit Johor Year 2026 (VJY2026).

Established in 1981, ATF is a cooperative regional effort to promote Asean as one tourism destination.

Malaysian Association of Travel and Tour Agents (MATTA) Johor chairman Kathryn Lee said the association would work together with the relevant parties to attract more tourists to Johor.

“We have less than two years to start planning and to ensure the success of VJY2026,” she said.

Lee said she hoped Johor MATTA could meet with Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi, who is now in charge of the tourism portfolio, and Tourism Johor to discuss VJY2026 matters.

“We have submitted our proposal to the state government on ways to further develop, strengthen and position the state’s tourism sector.”

Lee said the suggestions include having more international direct flights to Senai International Airport, especially from countries in the region.

“China is a big market. We can attract more tourists from the country if we have direct flights from other Chinese cities besides Guangzhou, to Johor Baru.”

Lee said Chinese tourists from cities other than Guangzhou who were planning to visit Johor, have to fly to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport or Singapore’s Changi Airport.

“Tourism involves inbound and outbound tourists. Johor needs to attract more inbound visitors especially from countries in the region.”

Lee said the Johor Baru-Haikou direct charter flights that started on April 24, were popular with Malaysians flying from the state to Haikou in Hainan, China. She said the focus should be on agro-tourism and shopping.

“Chinese tourists love durians and ours are the best in the world.

“Johor, as the country’s main producer of the fruits, is in a good position to attract them.”

Next year’s ATF is set for Jan 19 to 25.

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