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‘People in major metropolitan regions of India are now seeking experiential travel opportunities’

Tier II cities of India have immense potential for outbound travel; however, limited awareness about new products and destinations hinders its growth. Our Online Training Program will help tap this market says newly appointed Noriah Jaafar, Director for Tourism Malaysia Mumbai, in a conversation with Disha Shah Ghosh.

Q.How important is India as a source market for Tourism Malaysia and what is your priority for this market?

India holds a significant position as one of our top 4 markets, offering immense potential in terms of population and geography for attracting Indian tourists to Malaysia. It is noteworthy that as of 12 December 2022, only around 7.2 percent (approximately 96 million) of the total population of India, which stands at 1,420,200,276, possess a valid passport. These statistics underscore the vast untapped opportunities in the outbound Indian market, further highlighting the promising prospects for promoting Malaysia as a preferred destination.

Q.What are the reasons for hosting an Online Training Programme at this juncture? Enlist some of its salient features.

We have noticed a trend among Indian residents in major metropolitan areas, where they have already embarked on international travel at least once and are now seeking experiential travel opportunities. In Tier II cities, there is immense potential for outbound travel; however, limited awareness about new products and destinations hinders its growth. To address this, we have developed an Online Training Programme to tap into this market and enhance awareness.

Through this comprehensive Online Training Programme, we are confident in our ability to increase the number of Indian travellers visiting Malaysia and provide them with enriching experiences.

Q.How would the Indian travel trade benefit participating in the online education programme?

By enrolling in our online education program, Indian travel agents will gain in-depth knowledge about the various products and attractions that Malaysia has to offer. They will also receive comprehensive training on the visa procedures, enabling them to provide accurate information and assistance to their clients. This enhanced knowledge and expertise will greatly benefit travel agents in promoting and selling Malaysia as a destination, ensuring a seamless and satisfying experience for their customers.

Q.Which are some of the traveller segments that you are targeting in India?

In the post-Covid era, Tourism Malaysia is actively promoting the concept of ‘Malaysia – Beyond Kuala Lumpur,’ making it an ideal destination for a wide range of travellers. Our target audience encompasses individuals from all walks of life, including families, couples planning weddings, organizations seeking MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) venues, Gen Z adventure enthusiasts, and golf enthusiasts looking for luxury experiences. With our diverse offerings, Malaysia caters to the varied interests and preferences of every traveller, ensuring a memorable experience for all.

Q.In terms of trade and consumer outreach, what are some of the activities chalked out?

As we rightly say “Malaysia – Truly Asia” because you name an activity and Malaysia has it. Whether you’re seeking a family-friendly getaway, a romantic honeymoon, a culturally rich Indian wedding, and especially solo travellers who wish to explore with the freedom of self-drive, Malaysia has it all. The country’s stunning islands and beaches cater to families, while luxurious escapes await honeymooners. Additionally, Malaysia has gained popularity as a preferred destination for Indian corporate MICE events.

Q.With regards to the air connectivity, what enhancements in flight capacity have been made on the India route?

When it comes to air connectivity from India to Malaysia, we have a robust network with approximately 159 direct flights operating on a weekly basis, offering a combined seat capacity of 28,362. In addition to our Malaysia Airlines, Batik Air, and Air Asia, we are pleased to have domestic carriers like Indigo providing direct flights to Malaysia.

Exciting news awaits as well, with the upcoming merger of Air India and its alliances, further expanding the direct connectivity between India and Malaysia.

So it won’t be just Kuala Lumpur that benefits from these direct flights, but also popular destinations like Langkawi and Penang, making it more accessible and appealing for Indian travellers seeking an unforgettable experience.

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