Build mode on

To revive the tourism industry, the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents and Tourism Malaysia are making a beeline to critical Indian and European markets. By S Puvaneswary

There is one thing on the mind of Tourism Malaysia and the country’s travel trade right now, and it is to rebuild the tourism industry that had suffered two tough years.

The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) is working closely with Tourism Malaysia on this critical task. The immediate plan after the reopening of the country’s borders on April 1 was to jointly organise a sales mission to India, from April 18 to 29 covering six cities, namely New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai.

India is Malaysia’s second largest medium-haul market, after China; Batu Caves pictured

MATTA’s vice president inbound and domestic, Ganneesh Ramaa, told TTG Asia: “Our first physical sales mission (post-lockdown) was an important one, as the Indian market has traditionally been our second largest medium-haul market after China. We wish to make Malaysia the top-of-mind destination for Indian travellers and regain market share post pandemic; to rebuild the momentum and look forward to the Indian summer peak travel season from mid-May to the first week of June.”

Throughout the sales mission, Malaysia representatives highlighted the health and hygiene measures taken by hotels, food establishments, convention centres, as well as tours and transportation operators.

“As a member of Travel Safe Alliance Malaysia, MATTA’s operations has been certified by Bureau Veritas to meet stringent health and safety protocols, so (Indian partners) can be assured that their clients’ stay in Malaysia will be safe, pleasant and enjoyable,” said Ganneesh.

Besides India, Europe is also on the radar. Both agencies are working on marketing and sales strategies to attract more Europeans to Malaysia. This includes participating in B2B travel tradeshows such as IFTM Top Resa in Paris in September, The Luxury Travel Fair in London this November, and FITUR 2023 in Madrid.

Ganneesh revealed that MATTA was planning to go on sales missions to Eastern Europe this year, covering Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Romania.

“Our aim is to regain market share by showcasing our varied and diverse attractions, such as islands and beaches, gastronomy, culture and lifestyle. Attending the B2B travel shows and organising sales missions to Eastern Europe is an opportunity to enhance awareness of Malaysia’s diverse attractions, forge relationships with travel trade partners, and make Malaysia a top-of-mind destination.”

The Finance Ministry has allocated a special RM5 million (US$1.2 million) tourism fund for this year, channelled through the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture with Tourism Malaysia appointed as executor.

The fund, named Gamelan Malaysia, is a matching grant that works on the basis of reimbursable financial assistance whereby eligible companies may claim 50 per cent of the actual cost of their promotional project, up to a ceiling of RM200,000.

Meanwhile, national carrier, Malaysia Airlines, aims to gradually increase its frequencies and network to achieve around 70 per cent of its pre-Covid 19 capacity by end of this year.

A source said the carrier is currently seeing higher demand from India, which is its signature route, as well as from the UK and Australia into Malaysia.

It has, so far, increased frequencies on its flagship Kuala Lumpur-London route to 11 times weekly, and will return to double daily services from July 1.

For 2022, Malaysia is targeting two million international tourists and total receipts exceeding RM6.8 billion.

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