With a target of 2.5 million travellers from Europe by 2020, Malaysia sets an extremely ambitious task to lure more Europeans to its shores. Is it really possible as total number of arrivals hangs around a million travellers for the time being…
The 2.5 million European travellers target was recently announded during the 38th edition of FITUR 2018, a travel fair exhibition in Madrid and one of the most important in Europe. A delegation of 15 Malaysian travel professionals was led by YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz, Minister of Tourism and Culture, accompanied by Deputy Secretary General (Tourism), Puan Haslina Abdul Hamid; Deputy Director General (Promotion) Tourism Malaysia, Dato’ Sri Abdul Khani Daud; and Senior Director of Tourism Malaysia for International Promotions – America, Europe and Oceania, Dato’ Mohmed Razip Hasan.
During a briefing, Mohamed Nazri reaffirmed that collaborative partnerships and alliances with European trade partners will be one of the key drivers to spur growth of visitors to Malaysia in the run up to the Visit Malaysia Year campaign 2020. Various marketing initiatives have been launched with partners in Europe to boost arrivals.
Among them is partnership with ECTAA (Confederation of European Travel Agents and Tour Operators Association) for Malaysia as its Preferred Destination Partner 2018; partnership with CEAV (Confederation of Spanish Travel Agents in Spain) as well as with APAVT (Association of Portuguese Travel Agencies); Malaysia signed to be the Official ITB Country Partner 2019 in Berlin; various marketing partnerships have also been concluded between Tourism Malaysia and Malaysia Airports Berhad Holdings on one side, German-based Condor Airlines on the other side. After many years without a direct air connection, Condor announced to commence three weekly flights from Frankfurt to Kuala Lumpur next November 2018. A new cruise programme with TUI (UK) Cruises 2018/2019, will also look at bringing to Malaysia some 7,200 passengers.
The PATA Travel Mart (Pacific Area Travel Association) 2018 which will see participation by about 2,000 global trade professionals will take place in Langkawi from 12 to 14 September. The event is jointly hosted by Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) and Tourism Malaysia.
After the meeting with Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri, Mr Pedro Costa Ferreira, President of the Portuguese Travel Agent Association (APAVT) and Mr Rafael Gallego, President of the Confederation of Spanish Travel Agents (CEAV) agreed to organise their Annual General Meetings (AGM) in Kuala Lumpur next year.
Focusing on further strengthening the long haul European markets, Tourism Malaysia also organised a meeting attended by Tourism Malaysia’s overseas directors and marketing managers from stations from Almaty, The Hague, Dublin, Frankfurt, London, Moscow, Paris, Istanbul and marketing representatives for Italian and the Scandinavian markets to strategise market action plans and directions for 2018-2020.
Meanwhile, Tourism Malaysia is also looking at redefining the image of the country in Europe. Malaysia has seen numbers of travellers from Europe plummeting in recent years due partially to the closure of most of Malaysia Airlines European network and the termination of non stop flights by Air France and Lufthansa. From 1.2 million European tourists in 2014, Malaysia welcomed 0.98 million Europeans in 2016.
To more than double the total number of arrivals from the European continent within three years would request an annual growth rate of 50% per year. A difficult task! It would be more feasable to target 1.6 to 1.8 million of European arrivals by the end of 2020 – that would represent an average annual growth of 21% to 27% a year…
The new Condor flight but also the recently launched new non stop service from Doha to Penang by Qatar Airways will able tour operators in Europe to combine circuits with departure and arrivals being done indifferently from Kuala Lumpur or Penang, an attractive solution for travellers.