KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 (Bernama) -- Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) will make its rail tourism package a permanent feature in its bid to expand its services. The programme which is undertaken by KTMB Intercity Service with the cooperation of the Tourism Ministry will focus on homestay in areas served by the railway line. They include historical areas and those with certain attractions like Gemas and Tampin in Negeri Sembilan. Marketing manager for the Strategic Business Unit of KTMB's Intercity Service, Mohd Noordin Kimi, said the rail tourism programme was expected to be introduced this July in an effort to diversify the services of KTMB, which would be celebrating its 125th anniversary Tuesday.
He said although since five years ago, KTMB had created tourism packages on its own, they were not expansive, but this time with the involvement of the Tourism Ministry, there would be more focus. "We will now focus on promoting tourism in areas where the railway line passes through, with the programme having 10 themes including relaxation, education, recreation, sports, health and religion," he said. "The relaxation theme, for instance, will include a visit to Langkawi Island, shopping in Padang Besar, and a visit to Hat Yai and Kelantan. "In the education-themed package, primary school pupils from the urban areas will be able to spend their holidays in a rural setting." .Mohd Noordin said the Tourism Ministry would draw up the travel packages, decorate the coaches involved, put up banners and issue brochures and pamphlets on the programme, besides monitoring the programme. "A committee comprising representatives from the ministry, KTMB, homestay operators associations and other relevant parties will be formed to ensure smooth running of the rail tourism programme and good public response to it." He said KTMB had officially appointed six travel agents to manage the programme that was targeted to attract 18,000 local and foreign tourists yearly.