The cultural tourism sector has generated an average revenue of RM551 million for the past three years, says Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Mohamaddin Ketapi.
Mohamaddin said that last year, more than 17 million visitors participated in cultural tourism programmes and that the number is expected to rise further this year.
"Practices and way of life, performing arts and handicraft products have their own attraction, which can be promoted as well as able to generate income for the country, and the increase in visitors seen annually is a testimony to the great achievement.
"In addition, efforts by the Museums Department in collaborating with foreign countries to produce exhibitions, including countries like Kazakhstan, is a positive effort for the institution to continue to flourish and strengthen its international network as well as increase the number of visitors to the country," he said.
Mohamaddin was speaking to reporters after opening the Alharamain International Exhibition themed ‘A Journey over Thousands of Years’ and a meet and greet session with industry players in Kuala Lumpur today.
The Alharamain International Exhibition, which runs until July 21, is an exhibition featuring Islamic art collections from over 1,400 years ago.
In another development, Mohamaddin said the National Museum has been selected to host the Asian National Museums Association (Anma) Conference for the first time from Oct 29 to 31 this year.
"The conference will see participation from various Asian countries such as Thailand, Singapore and Kazakhstan, and will discuss the theme as well as highlight the functions of national museums.
"They will meet and come up with a resolution on the development of museums. I am confident that this intensive planning and continuous promotion will enhance the visibility of museums," he said.
Meanwhile, National Museums Department director-general Kamarul Baharin A Kasim said the seventh Anma conference would also discuss the latest changes and museum developments focused on education and research systems as well as building good ties among Asian countries.
"The Anma conference is still new, and so far 19 out of 23 member countries have agreed to participate in this conference, and we expect the largest three countries in this field, namely China, Japan and Korea to participate in this Anma," he explained.