Tourism Malaysia offices throughout the country will be closed with immediate effect to avoid job duplication with state agencies in promoting tourist attractions.

Tourism and Culture Minister Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz said the closure of the 14 tourism offices, however, did not involve the termination of services of the staff because they would be absorbed into the ministry’s headquarters and other departments.

He said the move was expected to save about RM6 million in cost annually, and it could be utilised for other expenses.

“Every state has its own executive councillor for Tourism and the State Economic Unit (Upen), so we don’t want a duplication of the tasks between the agencies and the tourism authorities in every state.

“Although all the Tourism Malaysia offices will be closed, we will create five information offices, namely in Penang for the northern region, Terengganu for the eastern region, Johor for southern region, Sabah at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport, and Sarawak at the Kuching International Airport,” he said.

He disclosed this to reporters after officially opening the Chinese New Year and the First Anniversary Celebration for the Freeport A’Famosa Outlet in Alor Gajah, Malacca, today.

The event was also attended by his deputy Mas Ermieyati Samsuddin and secretary-general of the ministry Ab Ghaffar A Tambi, as well as A’Famosa Group managing director Alex Lau.

On Jan 14, the ministry announced that at least four Tourism Malaysia offices abroad, namely in New York, the United States; Perth in Australia; Stockholm in Sweden; and Johannesburg in South Africa would be closed with immediate effect following the termination of Malaysia Airlines Bhd services there.

Meanwhile, Nazri projected that 30.5 million tourists would visit Malaysia throughout this year compared with 27 million last year.

– Bernama