Malaysian inbound agents are observing strong forward bookings from Iran for the Iranian new year known as Nowruz, which runs from March 20 to April 2.
Muhammad Anns, executive of Palmbeach Holidays, said: “We expect to see at least a 10 per cent increase this year compared with last year, when we received between 6,000 and 7,000 guests for this period. The most popular tour is our seven-night itinerary combining Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Langkawi.”
He added that Tourism Malaysia participates annually at the Tehran International Tourism Exhibition (TITEX), which has helped create awareness of Malaysia. Also favourable for Malaysia is visa-on-arrival for Iranian tourists, unlike to some of the destination’s neighbours such as Singapore.
George Wong, director, business development at Berjaya Langkawi Resort, also expects to see more guests this year compared with 2017, when the Nowruz season clashed with the biennial Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition, which resulted in a shortage of rooms and rack rates.
The destination registered almost 50,000 arrivals from Iran in the first 10 months of 2017, showing a 27.1 per cent growth compared to the same period in 2016. Iranians spend an average of 8.5 nights in Malaysia and the average per day expenditure is RM788 (US$199.15).
For the coming Nowruz period alone, the NTO aims to welcome 12,000 Iranian tourists.