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Malaysia: Boosting tourism with footwear fair

Malaysia’s tourism ministry and the Malaysian Footwear Manufacturers Association are holding a three-day Malaysia International Shoe Festival from 2 April to promote the country as the shoe capital of the East.

Malaysian-born world-renowned designer Jimmy Choo will showcase his 10 most successful shoe creations and deliver a talk at the event at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

According to Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, the number of tourists who shopped for shoes in Malaysia increased by 19.9 percent last year compared to 2008.

"We hope that this year, sales will increase by up to 25 percent and will stimulate the Malaysian economy," she told reporters on Wednesday.

Ng said Peter Chow, a renowned London-based trade buyer and owner of Davina Fashion Shoe boutique, would speak on how to attract more international buyers for Malaysian-made shoes.

The prime minister’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, will launch the festival, which will also feature the history of local shoes including Malay royal court shoes and intricately designed beaded Nyonya shoes, she said.

"We believe this event will not only create an economic opportunity but will also attract more tourists to the country," said Ng, noting that Malaysian brands such as Vincci, Bonia, Carlo Rino and Lewre had penetrated the international market.