Tourism Malaysia is intensifying its marketing in second- and third-tier markets in Indonesia in a bid to boost arrivals from the country by 20 per cent to 3.4 million arrivals this year.
Among the markets coming into greater focus are Banyuwangi and Malang in East Java; Makassar, Gorontalo and Palu in Sulawesi; Balikpapan, Samarinda and Pontianak in Kalimantan.
Roslan Othman, director, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board, observed: “There is a growing middle class and people are starting to embrace travel as a lifestyle choice in secondary cities in Indonesia like Banyuwangi and Malang in East Java for example.”
Tourism Malaysia is planning to open a representative office in Surabaya, which will serve as a hub to penetrate secondary cities in East Java.
Stressing the particular importance of travel agents when targeting secondary source markets in Indonesia, Roslan said: “Tourists from Jakarta are more independent. Most of them booked a ticket direct on website or using OTA. The people in secondary cities, however, are still dependent on travel companies to buy their holiday packages.
“We will go out more to meet with the travel agents, do more business sessions, coaching them on how to create and sell Malaysian products, (as well as) conduct fam trips to new attractions this year,” Roslan added.
To brings sales missions to Indonesia, The NTO works closely with the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) for sales missions to Indonesia.
One area of focus for such missions is to raise awareness of Malaysia’s new attractions, such as Desaru Coast and Asia Pacific Master Games Masters.
Desaru Coast, for example, participated in a recent sales mission to Surabaya and Jakarta. Muhammad Zainal Ashikin, CEO, Desaru Development, shared: “We have a pretty big target, which is 600,000 visitors in the first year, and Indonesia will be an important market. However, not many (people in Indonesia) know Desaru Coast just yet.”
Indonesia remains the country’s second top visitor source market, numbering nearly 2.8 million, after Singapore, according to Malaysian ambassador to Indonesia, Zahrain Mohamed Hashim.
As at press time, there are eight airlines serving the two countries, including Garuda Indonesia, Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Lion Air, Batik Air, Malindo Air, Citilink, and KLM.
Further facilitating travel between the two countries, Zahrain pointed out that Citilink has opened direct flights to Penang, while Malindo Air launched flights from Jakarta to Kota Kinabalu.
“There are about 600 flights serving Indonesia-Malaysia per week. We are still working to add more flight so that tourists are more comfortable travelling to Malaysia,” Zahrain remarked.
To incentivise more airlines to fly to Malaysia, the government is offering discounted parking fees to Indonesian aircraft flying to the destination, and considering giving subsidies to airlines linking Malaysia with small towns in Indonesia.