by AFIQ AZIZ / Pic by TMR FILE PIX
MALAYSIA plans to woo more visitors from non-Asean countries as it seeks to boost the tourism receipts to RM100 billion by next year.
Tourism Malaysia DG Datuk Musa Yusof said one of the key strategies is to attract more long-haul flight connectivities into Malaysia.
He said the ministry plans to collaborate with more foreign carriers, similar to the success of Condor Airlines service to Malaysia.
“As we do not have large carriers like Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Malaysia Airlines Bhd flying to Germany, we have Condor (Condor Flugdienst GmbH) coming here,” he said in Putrajaya yesterday.
Condor Airlines started a three-time a week direct flight between Kuala Lumpur and Frankfurt in early November. Condor became the 58th passenger airline to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Tourism Malaysia and Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) have teamed up to increase international tourism promotions via the Joint International Development Tourism Programme.
Meanwhile, total tourists to Malaysia dropped by 0.4% to 25.8 million last year compared to 2017, largely due to the drop of visitors from Asean countries.
Last year, 18.1 million tourists from Asean nations visited Malaysia compared to the 19.5 million recorded in 2017.
The drop was largely due to the drop of Singaporeans visiting Malaysia.
Tourism receipts from the Asean-nation visitors dropped 12.8% to RM48.5 billion from RM55.6 billion in 2017.
However, Asean remains the largest market, accounting for 70% of the total value.
The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture had originally set 26.4 million in overall tourist footfalls last year.
Despite the drop in footfalls, Musa said the sector’s contribution rose by 2.4% to RM84.1 billion from RM82.2 billion in 2017, attributed to the growth from the middle and long-haul destinations like Asia, Europe and the American countries.
The ministry has set a target of 28.1 million tourists this year and receipts of RM92.2 billion.
Musa said if the collaborations with international carriers are successful, the country could receive 30 million tourists and RM100 billion of revenue.
“Presently, we do not have the advantage of connectivity compared to our neighbouring countries,” he said.
Medium-haul flights of between three and six hours cover visitors from China, South Korea, Japan and India. Flying time above six hours are considered long-haul flights.
He also said focus will be given to long-haul markets due to the higher tourist receipts.
“We are not forgetting the long-haul markets as tourists from these countries spend more here,” Musa said.