Malaysia agents use Covid downtime to upgrade offerings

Gripped by a second lockdown, with interstate travel off the cards, tourism players in Malaysia are using the downtime to develop new products and strategise how to adapt their existing products for a domestic crowd.

Sharmini Violet, director of sales and marketing at Mega Water Sports & Holidays in Langkawi, said the company is in the midst of developing combo tour packages marrying its signature jet ski tours with other product offerings available in the archipelago, such as mangrove kayaking, go karting and sunset cruises.

Langkawi’s Mega Water Sports & Holidays looks to combine its jet ski tours with other product offerings

“We are helping to support other travel businesses in Langkawi through marketing and sales. These combo packages will be sold at lower rates, as compared to individual products, to domestic consumers,” she said.

The company is also relooking existing products to see how they can be better tailored to the needs of the local market, such as offering shorter, two-hour tours, considering most domestic tourists would prefer to pack several activities into a multi-day excursion.

Mint Leong, managing director, Sunflower Holidays, said all her staff are working from home to develop packages to lesser-known destinations in Melaka and Selangor as well as experiential tours to Terengganu and Kelantan.

Having conducted recces in Malaka before the movement control order came into effect last week, Leong said they are now “compiling our comments and ideas on how to improve existing products”.

The company is also padding its product portfolio. “We have developed new products to off-the-beaten areas in Selangor, such as Sungai Sirip Biru, Sungai Pelek and Hulu Selangor district,” Leong said.

“When business was good, we didn’t have time to do product development, an area we are now focused on, and we will start promoting these packages once interstate travel is allowed,” she added.

“We are also looking at developing experiential tours to the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, to promote local cultures, food and experiences.”

Meanwhile, some tour agents are spending their downtime – and hard-earned dough – on a good cause. Laili Basir, founder of Pahang-based Laili Basir Event Adventure, has appealed to his business network for cash donations to purchase basic necessities for the flood victims in Pahang and the under-privileged in Sabah.

Laili also pays the guides, drivers and others in his network to assist with the distribution of these items to the communities. He said: “It is not as much as what they used to earn in the past (before Covid hit), but it is something to help them through this difficult period.”

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