Tourism Malaysia plans to restart international promotion efforts from this September, and in the interim, focus will be on domestic recovery, and drumming up publicity around the country’s efforts to combat Covid-19.
To do so, the NTO will be leveraging social media and its overseas offices to dispense accurate information on what the Health Ministry has been doing to flatten the curve in Malaysia and protective measures against Covid-19 taken by the hospitality industry.
Efforts will also go towards strengthening the more than two-decade-old Malaysia Truly Asia branding and to build stronger branding within the international community for Malaysia as a preferred destination.
Musa Yusof, director-general at Tourism Malaysia, said that once the outbreak has been contained locally, the board’s immediate plan is to “refocus on domestic tourism to increase demand for the travel trade and related services, including airlines, accommodation, land transportation, retail and F&B”.
As part of the effort, Tourism Malaysia will work closely with industry partners to organise physical and virtual travel fairs. It will also encourage business event organisers to hold their events domestically.
Musa was speaking at Tourism Virtual Summit, a webinar held on April 7, which was organised by Tourism Productivity Nexus with the support of Malaysia Productivity Corporation.
To support the travel trade with international promotions post-pandemic, Musa said that Tourism Malaysia is looking at increasing the threshold of its matching grant to RM35,000 (US$8,040) per company for participation at international trade fairs, from RM15,000 previously.
He added that there were also plans to revive joint promotions and tactical campaigns with strategic airline partners and outbound travel operators overseas which had been put on hold due to Covid-19. This includes collaborations with domestic carriers such as Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia and foreign airlines including Turkish Airways, Emirates and Etihad.
He said that support for tour operators will also be introduced at a later stage for both overseas tour operators selling Malaysia as well as their inbound counterparts.
Post Covid-19 period, Musa envisages a growth in demand for FIT travel and experiential tourism as tourists become more sensitive to the call for social distancing and may shun group travel.
Tourism Malaysia will also organise familiarisation trips for key opinion leaders and media outlets specialising in niche segments exhibiting promising growth, such as sports tourism, agro tourism and health tourism.