Air Arabia’s upcoming launch of direct flights between Sharjah and Kuala Lumpur is spurring promotions in the UAE city by Malaysian tourism stakeholders, hopeful about the much-needed capacity boost during the Middle East summer season.
Air Arabia – the first LCC from the Middle East to fly direct to Malaysia – will commence the new daily service from July 1, 2019, in time for the high peak travel season for Middle Easterners from mid June to early September.
Ally Bhoonee, executive director, World Avenues Malaysia, shared: “There is always a shortage of seats from the UAE during the super peak period. In the past, some travellers used to take Emirates or other Middle Eastern airlines to travel to Malaysia.”
Saini Vermeulen, executive director, Within Earth Holidays, added: “With additional capacity, we hope airfares will be more competitive during the super peak summer period, when high volumes of travellers can be expected. So far, bookings for summer are slow, but we expect them to pick up from mid May.”
On its part, Tourism Malaysia has for the first time included Sharjah in a roadshow held in conjunction with the upcoming Arabian Travel Mart. The roadshow, which will include participation of 14 hotels, agents and product owners, will cover Kuwait, Oman and ends with Sharjah on April 24.
Uzaidi Udanis, president, Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association, shared that the association is also in talks with the airline to host joint fam trips and product briefings for travel agents from Sharjah. He disclosed: “We are in direct communications with the airline and hope to work closely with them on (these activities).”
The UAE is among the top five highest spending tourist markets in Malaysia, with an average per diem expenditure of RM839 (US$203) in 2017 and an average length of stay of 9.2 nights.