Indian summer holidays usually mark the peak inbound period for Malaysia’s tourism, but with the 2019 Indian general election currently being held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19, travel trade players in the destination are expecting a dip in business.
Adam Kamal, general manager, Tour East Malaysia, predicts the season will less busy than previous summers and expects the demand to pick up only after the election results have been announced on May 23.
He is counting on regional markets, such as Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and Brunei, to make up for the expected drop in the Indian market. He said: “Regional markets are low-hanging fruits and year-round markets.”
Johnson Francis, executive director at Oscar Holidays, said: “We are not getting many enquiries and bookings for the Indian summer holidays. We expect a 30 per cent drop in business from India compared with last summer. Families (will probably only) start travelling only after the election.”
He added: “To make up for the shortfall, we hope to supplement the market with other markets from the Indian sub-continent such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. We have not had any cancellations after the bombings in Sri Lanka. People are still travelling.”
Meanwhile, Pradeep Kumar, COO, Asian Famous Tours and Travel, is banking on the Middle East market to make up for the shortfall. This, however, also comes with its challenges, as the Balkans are now also competing for Middle Eastern travellers and offering lower airfares and easy air accessibility, he explained.