MALAYSIAN agents are eyeing Turkey as a replacement market for the Middle East, now that the Malaysian and Turkish governments have agreed to waive visa requirements for each other’s citizens.
World Avenues executive director Ally Bhoonee said: “Turkey is good to tap as it is a year-round market, and would help make up for the expected shortfall in Gulf Cooperation Council visitors during the years when their peak travel season coincides with Ramadan.”
Air access between the two countries will also improve as Turkish Airlines will reinstate its Istanbul-Kuala Lumpur flights, which were suspended in 2002. At present, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is the only carrier serving the Malaysia-Turkey sector.
Mayflower Acme Tours deputy general manager Abdul Rahman Mohamed said: “Improvements in air access will help, especially during the peak Malaysian outbound year-end period when it is hard to get seats on MAS. The removal of visa restrictions will also encourage more last-minute travel.”
New Straits Times reported yesterday that the governments of the two country would work on a framework to be concluded this year, in conjunction with free-trade agreement negotiations.