‘Post Covid, every Indian is our target’
Besides families and MICE, Tourism Malaysia is also looking to tap the wedding, golf and bollywood segments aggressively and not forgetting the upcoming GenZ expectations, says T.Ediwanto T.Eddie, Deputy Director, Tourism Malaysia, Mumbai, while speaking to TravelBiz Monitor.
Q. India & Malaysia share close ties due to longstanding cultural and historical connections. How does the Indian market play an important role for Malaysia tourism?
Malaysia is looking at India as a top market for outbound tourism as Indians constituted the fourth largest travellers during the pre-pandemic times.
An Indian tourist spends approximately $2,000 for shopping and entertainment in Malaysia. India is an important source in the tourism sector for us and that’s why we are looking at increase in air connectivity too to meet the expected footfalls
Q. After reopening of borders, Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) organised their annual convention in Malaysia. How the convention benefited you taking time and pandemic into consideration?
Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) held its annual travel convention in the city of Kuching in Sarawak region of Malaysia in September 2022. The theme of the convention was ‘Build Back Better’.
The convention aimed to add value to India’s membership in terms of content as well as the destination. The “Build Back Better” theme served as the foundation, which delivered on its promise to foster insightful discussions with some thought-provoking material about the future of travel, tourism, and sustainability.
The TAFI convention 2022 turned out to be a successful event as nearly 500 travel delegation participated. The message sent across by the participants that travel to Malaysia is safe and experiential had helped us to boost the Indian footfalls.
Q. How has tourism evolved in Malaysia in the last three years?
Around 7,35,309 Lakhs Indians travelled to Malaysia in 2019.
Globally, every country was badly affected by COVID, which includes Malaysia too. We opened our international borders from April 2022 and amended our travel guidelines with no RT-PCR for children with age 0 to 17 and for those who were double vaccinated.
Since April 2022, we observed an increase in the footfalls. Many attractions opened their doors to welcome the Indian tourists including Resorts World Genting and others. The GenZ explored the bag-packed and solo traveller segments. MICE as well as Wedding segment soared with airlines increasing their connectivity. Beaches and adventure explorers too increased simultaneously.
Q. Which traveller segments are your focus areas in India?
Post Covid, every Indian is our target. Apart from families and MICE, we are looking to tap the wedding, golf and bollywood segment aggressively and not forgetting the upcoming GenZ expectations.
Q. What kind of promotion have you adopted to boost the arrival of foreign tourists?
To begin the year, we have our 5-city roadshows i.e Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai & Ahmedabad followed by SATTE in New Delhi. We will be also organising many FAM trips for various verticals like media, travel agents, Bollywood production houses, wedding planners, influencers etc.
Q. Malaysia has always been a preferred destination for the Indian travellers. Can you tell us about the new features and attractions that they can look for?
As it is rightly said, MALAYSIA, TRULY ASIA, we do have many new upcoming attractions in Malaysia. We will be promoting Malaysia beyond Kuala Lumpur, which means we will be highlighting unknown and hidden gems of Malaysia i.e Perlis, Kelantan, Sabah & Sarawak aggressively.
Q. What are the steps have you taken to promote sustainable tourism in the country?
Influential marketing to meet the GenZ expectations and highlighting the hidden gems of Malaysia would be our primary focus. To promote and encourage this segment, we will be aggressive on our social media platforms as well as via various joint promotion.
Q. What message would you like to give to the travel trade of India?
With no covid restrictions and many more untapped attractive destinations, Malaysia is fully geared to welcome each and every Indian tourist catering to their taste and requirement.