LONDON – Malaysia Airports and Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board (Tourism Malaysia) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in a ceremony held at the ExCel London in conjunction with World Travel Market (WTM) in London. The signing was witnessed by the YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, Minister of Tourism and Culture Malaysia and Y. Bhg Dato’ Zainol Abidin Omar, Deputy Chairman Tourism Malaysia. The objective of the MoU is to promote, develop and increase inbound tourism globally particularly from India, China and Europe. Malaysia Airports was represented by Y. Bhg Datuk Badlisham Ghazali, Managing Director and Tourism Malaysia was represented by Y. Bhg Dato’ Sri Abdul Khani Daud, Deputy Director General (Promotions), Tourism Malaysia.
Malaysia, known as one of the world’s leading and favourite destinations, has a lot to offer to tourist in terms of its rich natural flora and fauna, friendly people, cuisine, history, arts, culture and heritage. Known for its pristine coastlines, the oldest tropical rainforests in the world and a shopping haven for the latest haute couture fashion items, Malaysia has the attraction for all types of travellers.
As the airport operator managing the country’s major gateways into the country, Malaysia Airports is keen for all the airports under its management to receive more foreign visitors. In the past two decades, passenger traffic at all airports have registered encouraging growth. In 2016, KL International Airport (KLIA) handled 53 million passengers, a growth of 7.6% from the previous year. Other international airports such as Penang and Kota Kinabalu had also registered a growth of 6.8% and 10.5% respectively. This significant a growth was facilitated by various capacity enhancements and efficiency measures taken by Malaysia Airports.
This collaboration between Malaysia Airports and Tourism Malaysia aims to promote global tourism particularly from India and China, which are the prime target markets to Malaysia due to its flight accessibility, passenger growth potential and its large population. This joint marketing initiative requires both parties to establish a promotional fund which shall be used to support marketing campaign by airlines and travel industry partners.
Malaysia remains one of the top South East Asia destinations for China, with over 23,000 flights per annum to and from KLIA and China in 2016. There is also a steady growth of passenger movements from China between January to October 2017 with an increase of 7.8% for the same period in 2016.
India is the sixth largest tourism source market for Malaysia and the bilateral trade between India and Malaysia between 2014 to 2015 stood at USD16.93 billion. Currently, there are more than 11,000 flights per year from four airlines operating from Kuala Lumpur. Passenger movements between India and Malaysia for the period January to October 2017 have posted a 13% growth against the same corresponding period last year.
YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, Minister of Tourism and Culture Malaysia said, “This is a huge landmark for both Tourism Malaysia and Malaysia Airports, who are the major stakeholders in the travel and tourism industry. I am sure the collaboration will help boost the number of visitors to Malaysia and thereafter achieve the objective of realising the objective of welcoming 36 million visitors by 2020. This initiative will also aid in making KLIA as a major aviation hub in the region. We took the opportunity to formalise this collaboration at the World Travel Mart as it is timely to make such announcement at a global event where major travel and industry players are present to learn of this exciting partnership.
Managing Director of Malaysia Airports Datuk Badlisham Ghazali said, “I am happy that we are able to form this collaboration to increase inbound traffic into Malaysia. Realising that both Malaysia Airports and Tourism Malaysia hold similar strategic aspirations, it is imperative that both parties join forces to support marketing and promotional activities to destinations in Malaysia. This unique initiative will yield greater tourism impact and is a significant milestone for both parties in the development of inbound tourism and in developing our international gateways, especially KLIA.”
The parties involved in the MoU will use the fund for marketing and promotional activities in both traditional and new media platforms throughout 2018, specifically to promote destinations in Malaysia. Both parties strive to develop and strengthen key existing markets as well as tap unserved markets in developing inbound tourism, and eventually make Malaysia as a preferred tourist destination.