MALAYSIA will no longer have direct air connectivity with Germany from March 1 when Lufthansa suspends its Frankfurt-Kuala Lumpur service which it had been operating since 2004.
While a decline in tourism volume is to be expected from the lack of direct flights, industry experts contacted believe the impact will not be major.
Manfred Kurz, managing director, Diethelm Malaysia, said: “We did a check and found that only 18 per cent of our guests travelled on Lufthansa. The other 82 per cent came through a Middle Eastern airline. Thus, we don’t expect this news to have a big impact (on business). Our partners have indicated that they will continue to sell Malaysia.”
Alex Lee, CEO of Ping Anchorage Travel & Tours, foresees a slight drop in the high-end segment from Germany, but expects volume to be maintained among middle class travellers and backpackers who are likely to fly with a Middle Eastern airline to get to Malaysia.
With no direct flights, Tourism Malaysia will also have to leverage on the connectivity provided by other airlines instead, but is sanguine Malaysia’s natural offerings will still entice European tourists.
Azizan Noordin, deputy director-general, international promotion, Tourism Malaysia, said: “Malaysia is considered a value-for-money destination for German tourists. There are many ecotourism products in Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo such as Royal Belum Rainforest, Danum Valley and Taman Negara National Park.
“Malaysia is also blessed with unique wildlife such as the orang utan and proboscis monkeys. These can be packaged together to offer unique ecotourism experiences that have high appeal for European travellers.”