TUI Group, one of the world’s leading tour operators and the largest tour operator in Europe, will soon begin operations here in Malaysia, their first full-fledged office in Southeast Asia.
Mohamaddin bin Ketapi, Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture Malaysia, represented by Abdul Khani Daud, Deputy Director General (Promotion), Tourism Malaysia presented the tour operating license to TUI Group at the Malaysia Tourism Centre (MaTiC) today.
TUI Group was represented by its Member of the Group Executive Committee and Group Director Corporate & External Affairs, Mr. Thomas Ellerbeck and also Head of Public Policy at TUI Group Corporate & External Affairs, Mr. Frank Puttmann.
Abdul Khani Daud declared that “The Malaysian tourism sector is delighted to work closely with TUI Group. The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture is confident that TUI Group will succeed with their operations and will contribute to the increase of tourist arrivals to Malaysia and vice-versa.”
The license allows TUI Group to operate inbound, outbound and ticketing activities in Malaysia as TUI International Holiday (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. with its office being located at SOHO Suites@KLCC.
The Germany-based tour operator is looking to develop the country both as a destination and a source market. In the framework of its “TUI 2022” strategy programme, TUI is seeking to tap new growth markets and expand its business in South East Asia, with Malaysia being a crucial partner country.
One of its upcoming initiatives is the Fly & Cruise package to Malaysia which will be implemented this winter. More than 7,000 tourists are expected to fly in to Langkawi from London, Birmingham and Manchester for a 7 days-6 nights cruise in ASEAN waters. Langkawi will be the homeport for the two ships Marella and MeinSchiff over this campaign period. The cruise ship will offer regional itineraries for European customers travelling with the Group from the port. The passengers will spend a night in Langkawi before departing for a 14-day round trip including destinations such as Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
Moreover, TUI Cruises will operate its cruise ship Mein Schiff 3, offering larger passenger capacity compared with Mein Schiff 1, on its itineraries from Singapore from the 2018/19 Winter schedule. With three Malaysian ports of call – including a home port – (Langkawi, Port Klang and Penang) TUI Group’s cruise companies will be a key growth driver in Malaysia’s maritime tourism segment.This initiative is expected to put Langkawi in the spotlight as a cruise hub, and Malaysia as an ideal holiday and cruise destination for the Europe market.
The Europe market is expected to be further invigorated with Tourism Malaysia signed up as Preferred Destination Partner of the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association in 2018 and as Official Partner Country for ITB 2019.
TUI Group, operating mostly in Europe, has nearly 20 million customers with 300 hotels, 16 cruise ships and more than 150 aircrafts under its belt.
The German tour operator wants also to develop outbound out of Malaysia and Southeast Asia. Earlier this year, Frank Vahldiek, Director International Partnerships at TUI Group indicated that “Malaysia is not only a beautiful travel destination in Asia, but also offers great potential for our tourism products and services. We are therefore developing the country both as a destination and source market with attractive offerings for Malaysia and Asian customers, increasingly interested in experiencing Western-style holidays in the region, in Europe and all over the world.”
Malaysia’s relationship with TUI Group goes back over 45 years with the presence of Tourism Malaysia offices in Frankfurt, Germany, and other parts of Europe. In fact, in 2016 and 2017, TUI was awarded as The Best Tour Operator in Europe by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia.