Tourists from the Middle East typically contribute higher expenditure per capita than other markets, says Tourism Malaysia DG
by RAHIMI YUNUS
MALAYSIA is intensifying tourism campaigns in other markets such as West Asia and Eastern Europe to offset declining demand from China besides boosting domestic travel.
Tourism Malaysia DG Datuk Musa Yusof said tourists from West Asia, particularly the Middle East, typically contribute higher expenditure per capita than other markets.
He added that most airlines in the region are flying into Malaysia and thus supportive of the efforts to bring more tourists.
He also said Tourism Malaysia is looking at South Asia, in particular India, as a growing market for the country’s Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020) campaign.
“An unofficial data from 2018-2019 showed there was a 22% increase of tourists from South Asia namely India. There will be a conference by the travel agent federation of India in Penang at the end of this month that brings decision-makers and influencers to promote Malaysia,” Musa said at the launch of Super GT Malaysia Festival 2020 in Putrajaya yesterday.
According to him, in Eastern Europe, the tourism body has activated mission teams in Poland to secure business-to-business travel deals and also working with the airlines to position Malaysia as a travel destination.
Still, he said the country is targeted to increase domestic travel to help cushion the impact of Covid-19 on international visitor demand.
He added that domestic travel had generated RM62 billion in 2018 and that proved the potential value of tourism activities within Malaysia.
Beside domestic and other markets, Musa said Asean is expected to be another main contributor to tourism this year.
Malaysia is targeting 30 million tourist arrivals and RM100 billion tourist receipts under VM2020, but the Covid-19 outbreak has caused a major downside risk to the plan.
Meanwhile, the Super GT racing returns to Malaysia this year after a six-year hiatus under a sports tourism theme in the VM2020 calendar.
Sepang International Circuit is set to host the world’s first GT night race during the four-day event from July 16 to 19.
The Super GT series in Malaysia this year will also debut an all- Malaysian team for the first time, featuring drivers Jazeman Jaafar and Datuk Adrian D’Silva.
They will pair up in a Porsche GT3 R to compete in the GT300 Class as a wildcard entry.
The Super GT Malaysia Festival 2020 is one of two races outside Japan and will be round five of the 2020 Autobacs Super GT Series.
Malaysia had hosted the first overseas race of the All-Japan Grand Touring Championship with two exhibition races in 2000 and 2001 before the country was officially included as a full-fledged championship round in 2002.
Malaysia continued to play host to the racing series’ overseas rounds until 2013.
The event this year is expected to attract about 80,000 spectators from local sports fans to fans in other parts of the world.
The Autobacs Super GT Series runs a two-driver endurance format with race distances ranging from 300km to 1,000km in two classes of racing — the GT500 as the main class and the GT300.
The GT500 main class will see the clash between three Japanese car manufacturers: Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Honda Motor Co Ltd, spread among 15 teams.
Meanwhile, the GT300 class features 30 competing teams representing a wider array of manufacturers such as Mercedes-AMG GmbH, BMW AG, Audi AG, Porsche AG, Automobili Lamborghini SpA, Bentley Motors Ltd, Lotus Cars Ltd, Subaru Corp and few others.