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KUANTAN: As the tourism industry in Pahang slowly recovers, the state government is targeting the arrival of 13 million tourists to visit holiday destinations here this year. Pahang's tourist arrivals totaled 10.18 million as of Dec 31 last year compared with 2 million in 2021 when the country's borders were closed due to Covid-19 restrictions. State Unity, Tourism and Culture Committee chairman Leong Yu Man said as post-pandemic tourism initiatives move into top gear, the Pahang government was looking at marketing strategies and programmes to lure domestic and international visitors.

"Last year, tourists spent about RM9.14 billion in Pahang compared with only RM1.9 billion in 2021. I am confident holidaymakers will return this year. We can achieve our target as we have attracted some 10 million visitors last year despite the country's borders only opening on April 1, 2022. "Beaches, islands, nature tourism spots and highlands in Pahang will continue to become among the favourite holiday destinations. Besides the existing annual international and domestic activities in the Pahang tourism calendar, we will promote new activities and destinations," she said after an event with Pahang tourism industry players here today.

Meanwhile, Leong said besides the annual Royal Pahang Billfish International challenge, Start in Tioman (diving) and Southeast Asia's longest running International Bird Race event — the Fraser's Hill International Bird Race, the Tasik Bera International canoe festival would make its debut in July. "Each of the 11 districts in Pahang has its own unique attraction. For example, the enchanting Mossy Forest in Cameron Highlands and Lipis Geopark are among the new attractions that will be extensively promoted this year along with other existing ones," she said. On promotions, she said the state government had agreed to set aside a budget for unique tourist attractions in Pahang to be featured in Going Places, the inflight magazine of Malaysia Airlines. "We will have advertisements promoting the top destinations and our tourism calendar in 57 aircrafts belonging to Malaysia Airlines, which will fly to various parts of the world. There will be seven series featured in the magazine, starting April," she said. Present at the event was Tourism Pahang general manager Kamaruddin Ibrahim. Source: NST

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