“Malaysia’s rich cultural heritage, warm hospitality and diverse natural landscape has resulted in a trend towards agro-tourism and homestay programmes, as an increasing number of travellers seek authentic cultural experiences that take them away from the usual beaches and islands and slightly off the beaten track,” Tourism Malaysia marketing manager Peter Power said. Most famous for its idyllic islands and pristine beaches, Malaysia tourism experts are expanding their marketing and promotional strategies to focus on agro-tourism, retail, cuisine and the increasingly popular homestay programmes to offer visitors a more well-rounded cultural experience. The Malaysian homestay experience allows travellers the opportunity to live within a traditional Malaysian community, experiencing the Malay culture and day to day life; cooking, fishing, harvesting, farming and interacting with locals through a variety of traditional arts, crafts and activities for a truly enriching cultural experience. Ranking as the ninth most visited country in the world, Malaysia welcomed over 25 million tourists in 2012, including 500,000 Australians, and with numbers continuing to show a steady climb, Tourism Malaysia’s vision of reaching 36 million visitors in 2020 remains promising. Source = ETB News: L.B. With plenty of events and festivals on the horizon as well as environmental diversity, world famous shopping and a wealth of cultural experiences on offer, Malaysia’s tourism industry performance remains strong as tourist arrival numbers continue to grow.