Malaysia expects sharp drop in Japanese tourists

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – The Tourism Ministry expects a drop in Japanese visitors following the earthquake that triggered a 10m tsunami which killed more than 1,000 people.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said an immediate impact on Malaysia’s tourism was to be expected.

“I presume it will affect us as the airports are closed. When a nation faces such a tremendous tragedy, I don’t think the people will have the mood to travel,” she said, after launching the annual 1Malaysia Kuala Lumpur International Dragon Boat Festival at Metropolitan Lake Garden in Kepong yesterday.

Expressing her sympathy to Japan, Dr Ng said Malaysian tourism officers at the ministry’s two offices in Tokyo and Osaka were safe.

Japanese Ambassador Masahiko Horie was reported as saying that Malaysia was the number one choice for Japanese tourists since 2006.

Later, asked if Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) was investigating several of the ministry’s officers over “ambiguous” tender procedures in advertising and promotions, Dr Ng said:

“They were not being investigated but were merely assisting the MACC.”