BANGKOK, Feb 7 (Bernama) -- Malaysia is expected to continue to maintain its position as the destination of choice for Thai tourists compared with other ASEAN countries this year, said Tourism Malaysia.
Director of Tourism Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar, Sulaiman Suip, said in 2014, about 1.3 million Thais visited Malaysia with the income earned reaching RM2.7 billion.
"Although last year's Thai tourist arrival statistics have not been released, we are confident it will remain positive this year," he told Bernama in a recent interview, here.
According to Sulaiman, Malaysia was being marketed as a family holiday destination, among Thai tourists, as well as a shopping 'paradise' in the region. Luxury goods are cheaper in Malaysia compared with Thailand following the 30 percent tax imposed on luxury items in that country.
The Malaysian tourism destinations promoted and marketed include Genting Highlands, Cameron Highlands, Legoland theme park, Sunway Lagoon, and Lost World of Tambun and Movie Animation Park Studio (MAPS) in Ipoh, Perak.
Tourism Malaysia in Thailand is also promoting sports events such as the Formula 1 (F1) Grand Prix and motoGP racing.
"In view of Genting Highlands being extremely popular among Thai tourists, we are also promoting the latest attraction there, namely the 20th Century Fox World theme park at Resorts World Genting," Sulaiman said of the future movie-inspired theme park expected to open later this year or next year.
He said other ASEAN nations, meanwhile had begun to conduct aggressive marketing campaigns here to attract Thai tourists to their countries.
"Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar have decided to open wider their tourism market by deciding to go visa-free. We can see them employing aggressive marketing strategies in Thailand to attract tourists," he said.
Since Myanmar opened its doors to the outside world, the country had also begun to attract Thai tourists, he said, adding that this was providing an additional challenge to the Malaysian tourism authority in Bangkok.
Other than ASEAN countries, Japan, he added, was also conducting rigorous marketing campaigns in Bangkok to attract Thai tourists to the Land of the Rising Sun.
One million Thais are expected to visit Japan this year, up from 800,000 last year, with Tokyo providing a free 15-day visa to Thai tourists.