Major marathon in Kuala Lumpur expected to boost sports tourism

A woman runs within view of the iconic Petronas Twin Towers in the Kuala Lumpur city center, Malaysia. Pic: Abdul Razak Latif/Shutterstock

CHINA’s Chinese Athletic Association (CAA) is joining forces with Malaysia’s Tourism and Culture Ministry to organize the One Belt One Road Marathon Malaysia (OBOR).

The marathon aims to attract 20,000 participants from around the world and is estimated to generate RM40 million (US$8.97 million) through participation fees, accommodation, transportation, food and beverage and vacation packages.

It is expected to pull in a large number of participants from China.

China’s Wisdom Sports Group chief executive officer Zhang Han said: “Since marathons are currently popular, we are confident many Chinese citizens will be attracted to this.”

On top of that, the marathon kicks off on Oct 1, coinciding with China’s “Golden Week”, a semi-annual seven-day national holiday.

Malaysia’s Tourism and Culture Ministry deputy secretary-general Datuk Rashidi Hasbullah said the decision to collaborate with CAA was in response to China’s initiative to connect with Europe and Asia through sports tourism.

Late last year, Malaysia’s Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz confirmed Malaysia would stop hosting the Formula One (F1) Grand Prix race due to declining revenues and high organizational costs.

SEE ALSO: Malaysia will stop hosting F1 race, but the (tourism) show must go on

For the best of under two decades, the country’s F1 season had been a revenue generator as it does not merely encompass the race.

A series of activities, shopping sales, road shows, a charity gala dinner and public concerts are also common before and after the race.