Malaysia is expecting to host 5-6 lakh Indian tourists in calendar 2023, up from 3.2 lakh last year, against its global tourists arrival target of 15.5 million, the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board said on Thursday.
“The air connectivity between India and Malaysia is considerably good. We are expecting to see tourist flow from India to return to pre-pandemic levels and beyond that by 2024,” said Mohd Amirul Rizal Abdul Rahim, Senior Deputy Director, International Promotion Division Asia/Africa, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board.
“In 2019, we had 7.35 lakh arrivals from India and we want to get to the 2019 level and exceed it in 2024. All market preparations are leading up to that scenario as airlines are now in the process of fare rationalisation and route stabilisation,’” he added.
Air fares between India and Malaysia used to be as low as ₹6,000 (one way) and ₹13,000-14,000 (two way) until 2019, but the pandemic had dramatically altered these fare structures and as a result cost of air tickets have more than doubled and even touched ₹35,000 (two way).
Post pandemic, India, displacing China, has emerged as the fourth largest contributor to Malaysia’s tourism. “China is now slowly opening up and may start coming back,’” Mr. Rahim added.
On the profile of Indian tourists, Razaidi Abd Rahim, Director, South India & Sri Lanka, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board said, Indian visitors had presence in all segments of tourism in Malaysia. About 70% of Indian visitors come for leisure, the rest are MICE/Business while a small percentage accounted for students. India currently is the second largest MICE market while Korea is the largest, he said.
Airlines such as AirAsia, Malaysian Airlines, Batik Air and IndiGo operate 169 flights with a capacity of 30,000 seats per week. Southern region of India alone accounts for 107 flights and 19,000 seats. Chennai operates 34 flights a week, Tiruchy 24 flights, Kochi 20 flights, Hyderabad 15 flights and Bengaluru operates 13 flights to Kuala Lumpur in a week, according to Rakesh. P, Director, Jagadish Tours.
Tourism Malaysia, in collaboration with Jagadish Tours, is currently in the process of holding a campaign across India to boost its tourist arrivals this year.