From 20-23 September, Malaysia will host the Travel Agent Federation of India (TAFI) convention in Kuching, Sarawak. Supported by Tourism Malaysia and the Sarawak Tourism Board, the event will feature a range of events and showcases that offer a path forward into Malaysia’s ongoing tourism revival.
This year’s event is centred around the theme ‘Build Back Better’ and will be hosted at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK). The venue can host up to 5,000 people, with enough Wi-Fi bandwidth to support 8,000 users simultaneously.
The Convention’s chairman, Seeraj Singh Sabharwal says “Sarawak is an excellent destination for family travel, honeymooners, MICE, weddings and the film industry. TAFI has often organised conventions in unique and unusual locations to expand the portfolio of travel agents and tour operators of India.”
The September event will mark the third time TAFI has held its showpiece in Malaysia – the previous two occasions being in Kuala Lumpur in 1999 and in Kota Kinabalu in 2007. The Indian market is responsible for the fifth highest number of annual visitors to Sarawak, with the province growing in popularity among travellers from the subcontinent.
“TAFI Convention 2022 is a golden opportunity for us to ramp up Sarawak’s visibility in India and also to showcase our offerings to our Indian travel agent partners,” explains YB Dato Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, who is the Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Sarawak (MTCP). “We anticipate a 30% increase from the pre-pandemic arrivals to Malaysia this year,” he added.
Ajay Prakash is the president of TAFI. In preparation for this year’s show, he recently said “Sarawak is a relatively unexplored destination for the Indian traveller. Also, the destination promotes conservation and sustainable development. We anticipate that after the convention, our members will be inspired to promote tourism to this beautiful province since it can be a great venue for destination weddings, family travel and corporate events.”
In 2019, the Indian market contributed to 735,309 arrivals to Malaysia. Now, with tourism back in business, the first seven months of the year have already seen a 304% increase compared to the same period in 2021. Supported by events such as the TAFI convention, the sky’s the limit for Malaysia’s Indian influx.