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Latvia Woos Malaysian Tourists

As part of ongoing efforts to broaden its appeal as an exotic, alternative holiday destination, Latvia is seeking to attract Malaysian tourists to visit the place described as Europe’s “hidden treasure”.


Riga, Latvia, one of Europe's hidden treasures © anjun - Fotolia.com

Speaking to the New Straits Times during a visit aimed at bolstering economic cooperation between the two nations, Latvia’s foreign minister Edgars Rinkēvičs said that his country had much to offer Malaysians, who are known for their interest in visiting multicultural heritage and historical sites.

Rinkēvičs is the first high-profile Latvian official to visit Malaysia since the countries first established diplomatic ties back in 1993.

New Straits Times reported that Latvia would be of special interest to Malaysians. The Baltic state is split into four distinct regions, each offering unique attractions – including Kurzeme in the west, known for its breathtaking wild landscapes, and Zemgale in the center, with its incredible castles and luxurious estates.

Vidzeme in the north-east is different again, with its rich variety of cultural and historic sites, while Latgale in the south east offers dozens of beautiful churches and more incredible scenery.


Latvia's wild natural landscapes make it an ideal winter holiday destination for Malaysians © Janis Smits - Fotolia.com

Finally there’s Riga, Latvia’s beautiful capital city, which deserves a very special mention – the city has become one of the most popular weekend city break destinations for Europeans in recent years, known for its stunning art nouveau architecture, and the warmth and hospitality of its people.

“Latvia is a remarkable destination,” said Rinkēvičs, pointing to its renowned architecture, lush green landscape, its wild nature and its beautiful beaches.

Latvia, which has four distinct seasons, would make an ideal destination for Malaysians wishing to experience a winter holiday, added Rinkēvičs:

“The fluffy snow and cold weather during the winter will provide a novel experience for Malaysians wishing to enjoy the joys of winter. You could come in February for ice fishing and skiing.”

One idea that Rinkēvičs hopes to promote could be a mutual exchange of tourists between the two countries – just one of many options open to the two nations as they work together to develop their tourism sectors.


Rinkevics believes the two nations can benefit from a tourist exchange © Regisser.com - Fotolia.com

Rinkēvičs, noting that Malaysia is true to its tagline “Malaysia, Truly Asia”, said that he hoped to see an increase in the number of Malaysians and Latvians visiting each other’s respective countries.

In addition to increasing tourism ties, Rinkēvičs told the New Straits Times that he hoped to see a furthering in cultural relations between the two countries, through an increase in activities such as concerts, arts and cultural exhibitions.

Rinkēvičs also touted business and education as two areas where Latvia and Malaysia would seek to further cooperation. The foreign minister revealed that there were numerous companies and entrepreneurs looking to explore business opportunities in Malaysia, as well as other ASEAN nations. Regarding education, Rinkēvičs said that he hoped this could be a way for the two countries to better understand each other’s cultures and languages.