#WeMissYou, says Malaysia

Collaborating with the virtual Gulf Travel Show (GTS) for a second consecutive year, Tourism Malaysia says it wants to renew existing partnerships while seeking new connections in India, one of its key source markets.

Manas Dwivedi

In an interaction at GTS 2021, the Malaysian tourism board shared its plans on reopening borders and highlighted the importance of the Indian market.

Manoharan Periasamy, Senior Director of International Promotion Asia & Africa Division – Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board, said, “India has been a key source market for us mainly due to the historical and traditional ties we have with them. The month of May is the peak for Indian tourists. Over the past year, the pandemic, however, did hinder the situation, but now we are preparing once again to welcome our friends from India to a safer destination which would provide them what they require in terms of a secure, family-friendly holiday escape. Our partnership for the second consecutive year with the virtual Gulf Travel Show provides us the opportunity to renew partnerships and seek new connections that will help us when the time is right.” At the event, Tourism Malaysia had its own pavilion, with 13 booths comprising Tourism Malaysia Dubai, Tourism Malaysia Jeddah and Tourism Malaysia India, with three DMC/ tour operator partners and seven hotels & resorts from different areas in the country. Periasamy added that by third quarter of 2021 the government may look at opening borders for key markets, including India and the Middle East, but only once it is assured that all SOPs are being followed. “We are looking at vaccinating around 60-70 per cent of the population by Q3 2021, post which we might plan to open borders for Indian travellers. The government would like to review the process of allowing tourists, and this is when there would be a possibility that vaccinated travellers may get a preference. At the moment, we have not opened the borders for regional markets, we are only open now for business travellers,” he shared.

In the interim, Tourism Malaysia hopes to continue leveraging the power of technology and social media to reconnect with Indian travellers and the Indian travel trade. Periasamy says that webinars, knowledge sessions and virtual press conferences are proof that they are focusing on a digital reconnect. Digital platforms, he adds, are going to be one of the main areas of emphasis for them and most of their publicity campaigns and engagements with consumers and the travel trade will be on the digital platform.

“India has always been one of the top source markets for Malaysia in terms of tourist arrivals. After ASEAN and China, India is a very important market for us. We are planning to engage Indian tourists in a big way. We already have things in the pipeline and when borders open, we will be engaging the trade as well as consumers in India,” he further informed.

The Senior Director also emphasised that Malaysia has a lot of destinations that can cater to the demands of Indian travellers seeking offbeat destinations, adventure tourism as well as eco-tourism experiences. “We are looking at young travellers who are looking to engage in soft adventure activities. Most of these activities and new destinations are already being promoted by tour operators in India but going forward, we are going to promote them more aggressively once we know when the borders will be open,” he said.


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