SEPANG: Malaysia aims to have 337,100 tourists from West Asia with the establishment of Air Arabia’s Sharjah, UAE to Kuala Lumpur route. This is the first direct flight by a low-cost carrier (LCC) that connects Malaysia with the Arabian Gulf region.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi said this would help to boost tourism traffic from Sharjah, as well as from Iraq, Egypt and other Gulf Cooperation Council markets.

“Last year, a total of 315,937 tourists from West Asia countries came to visit our shores, indicating an increase of 25.3% over the same period in 2017,” he said in his speech in officiating the inaugural flight at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), here today.

“Up until March 2019, we have received a total of 65,202 tourists from West Asia countries to Malaysia. We are also aggressively promoting Malaysia in the run-up to our Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign.

“We are eyeing 30 million tourists from all over the world next year to experience the beauty and wonders of Malaysia.”

Mohamaddin added that he is confident that the tour and travel industry operators in West Asia and Malaysia would take advantage of this new flight connection to develop attractive tourism packages to promote the flow of tourists between the two regions.