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Central Asia: Central to Growth in Malaysia
19 November 2019 | Written by dtnweb

Malaysia is working to develop connectivity and destination awareness in Central Asian countries, following a bumper year of arrivals from the region. Tourism Malaysia is rolling out a range of development programmes modelled on the success they have enjoyed this year, in particular with tourists from Kazakhstan – the source market that has shown the most interest in Malaysia this year.

This year, arrivals to Malaysia from Kazakhstan grew from 2018’s total of 6,385 to 8,503; a substantial increase of 33.2% in just one year. Kazakh tourists’ average length of stay also grew, with the majority spending more than a week in Malaysia. Authorities are showing their appreciation with additional flight capacity, charters and promotions for Kazakhstan and its neighbours, in the hope that interest in Malaysia’s attractions will continue to spread throughout the region.

One key to growth identified by Tourism Malaysia has been its collaboration with airlines, airports, tour agents and travel fairs, to improve the country’s accessibility and raise awareness of its attractiveness. As part of the plan, Malaysia Airports have provided a combination of charter flights and cash incentives to Central Asian airlines, encouraging them to fly direct to Malaysia. Tourism Malaysia has also collaborated with Kompas Tour and is planning to attend a range of travel shows in the coming months, while also offering new flight schedules, to continue their bumper growth into 2020.

“Our consistent marketing efforts and collaboration with airlines and tour operators in Kazakhstan has proven to be fruitful, resulting in strong growth in the market,” said Musa Yusof, who is the Director General of Tourism Malaysia. “We hope to continue the momentum and increase our marketing activities in the surrounding market areas,” he added.

Tourism Malaysia recently exhibited at PATA Travel Mart in Nur-sultan, and is also set to feature at Tashkent International Travel Fair 2019 this month (November). Next April, Kazakhstan International Travel Fair 2020 will also be used as a platform to showcase the new products and services created for the Central Asian market. Each of the events is expected to lead to tactical campaigns and collaborations with partners from Kazakhstan and beyond.

Visitors from Kazakhstan and lessons learned from their travel habits are providing a prototype for new products and expansion by Tourism Malaysia, as explained by Mr. Yusof:

“Currently, travellers from Kazakhstan prefer to stay at a beach destination for a few days before returning home. We would like to develop tour packages that combine multiple beach destinations and city attractions to encourage longer stays and higher expenditure. For example, Langkawi and Penang or Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu.”

Central Asia is proving to be fertile ground for new foreign arrivals to Malaysia. With a packed schedule of events, a range of collaborations and new packages complemented by improved connectivity, 2020 looks like being another record-breaking year.