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MANY ATTRACTIONS: Latvia boasts multicultural heritage and historical sites

SEPANG: Latvia, described as northern Europe's hidden treasure, is keen to lure more Malaysians to visit its multicultural heritage and historical sites, said Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics. 

He said Latvia, which is located on the shores of the Baltic Sea, is a remarkable holiday destination with green landscape, renowned architecture, beautiful beaches and wild nature, in addition to its rich historical and cultural heritage.

For Malaysian tourists who prefer winter holidays, Latvia -- with its four "pronounced seasons" -- would be an ideal destination.

"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," Rinkevics said during his recent official visit here to strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries.

Rinkevics noted that the two countries had plenty of scope to work closely to develop their respective tourism industries, pointing out that they could consider a mutual exchange of tourists.

"Malaysia is true to its tourism tagline -- 'Malaysia, Truly Asia'.

"I hope more Latvians will come to Malaysia and more tourists from Malaysia will visit our region."

Latvia is divided into four culturo-historical regions -- Kurzeme (western region), Zemgale (central region), Vidzeme (north-eastern region) and Latgale (south-eastern region) -- each with its own attractions.

Kurzeme attracts tourists with its unspoiled natural beauty, Zemgale is replete with luxurious castles and estates, Vidzeme offers rich natural and culturo-historical sites and Latgale has marvellous scenery and many beautiful churches.

Riga, the capital and largest city of Latvia, is an outstanding holiday destination with its unique art nouveau architecture.

On the cultural front, Rinkevics stated that he looked forward to furthering cultural exchange between Latvia and Malaysia through activities such as art exhibitions and concerts.

"Cultural exchange can beef up mutual understanding between Latvia and Malaysia."

Education was another area that the two countries could explore, he noted, adding that education could promote better understanding of the culture and language of the two countries.

Latvian entrepreneurs had also expressed interest in the business opportunities offered by Malaysia, and in this respect, Latvia was looking forward to expanding its economic ties with Malaysia and other Asean countries, he said.

He said Latvia was also keen on expanding mutual cooperation in other areas such as information technology and in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.

Rinkevics' visit to Malaysia was the first high-level visit by a Latvian official after the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1993. Bernama

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