By Zakaria Abdul Wahab
SINGAPORE, July 28 (Bernama) -- Kedah became the third Malaysian state after Sabah and Sarawak to carry out tourism campaigns in Singapore this year to tap the abundant local and expatriate tourist markets.
Over 30 travel agents, hoteliers and tourism bodies from Langkawi and Alor Setar are now here meeting their local counterparts to introduce Kedah tourism products to Singaporeans who are currently Malaysia's top visitors.
Their three-day tourism promotion campaign here is jointly organised by Tourism Malaysia, Langkawi Development Authority (LADA), the Kedah chapter of Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents Association (Matta) and Kedah Tourism Action Council.
Malaysia's High Commissioner to Singapore Datuk Md Husin Nayan said he hoped other Malaysian states would follow suit to conduct their tourism campaigns here to tap the rich Singapore tourist market.
Tourism Malaysia's Singapore office director Zalizam Zakaria said Malaysia had recorded about 6.1 million tourist arrivals from Singapore in the first six months of this year, and was confident that its target of 11 million for 2009 could be achieved.
Kedah hopes to attract more than 100,000 tourists from the island republic, including expatriates and travellers who are transiting in Singapore, to Langkawi and mainland Kedah this year.
LADA figures showed that nearly 40,000 Singaporean tourists visited Langkawi alone last year compared to nearly 35,000 in 2007.
Singaporeans are expected to throng Kedah when new air services between Singapore and Alor Setar and Langkawi are introduced by budget carriers Firefly and Jetstar in the coming months.
Currently, Singapore's Silk Air, Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia operate more than 30 flights per week between Singapore and Langkawi.