Special Jan 1 welcome for visitors to Malaysia

KOTA KINABALU - A special welcoming ceremony awaits the first batch of visitors at 37 entry points in the country at the stroke of midnight on Jan 1.

Tourism Malaysia Domestic Marketing Division senior deputy director Zalizam Zakaria said there would be surprises for visitors next year in conjunction with Visit Malay­sia Year 2014.

"One is a special welcome for the first visitors to Malaysia (next year)," he said.

"A team will be stationed at the 37 selected land, sea and air entry points to make the travelling experience of early birds a memorable one," he said after Tourism Malaysia deputy chairman Datuk Maznah Mazlan launched the Sabah Best of Borneo Holiday Packages here yesterday.

Maznah said the packages were the first tourism products launched to mark Visit Malaysia Year. "It will be launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 19."

Maznah suggested that tour operators in Sabah worked with their counterparts in the peninsula to reduce tourists' congestion in Sabah.

"We have to think of a caring capacity as eco-tourism is a core product of the industry in Sabah," she said.

"It is a fragile industry," she pointed out. "And, to ensure that there will not be too many people at one location per time, and to prevent the possible damage to our eco system, a creative method needs to be applied," Maznah said.

The holiday packages are a compilation of ideas from 17 tour operators in Sabah with the collaboration of the Sabah Tourism Board.