|Perhentian Island, Terengganu|
Tourism Malaysia is confident arrivals from Singapore will pick up this year despite the record low in 2015 which saw a seven per cent drop from 2014 to 12.4 million.
Speaking to TTG Asia e-Daily, the newly appointed director of Tourism Malaysia – Singapore office, Ishak Ismail, said the latest statistics show 6.6 million Singapore visitors into Malaysia from January to June this year, an increase of 3.3 per cent.
Explaining this “significant increase”, Ismail said: “One of the key advantages for Singapore tourists is the weak ringgit which makes it very affordable for them to travel to Malaysia.
“There are also other factors like increased flight connectivity and more LCCs entering the competition.”
As such, he expressed optimism that visitor arrivals for 2016 will be “definitely better” than last year.
An average Singapore traveller makes 2.5 trips into Malaysia per year, and Ismail said he is targeting for them to increase this frequency to four times per year.
He added he aims to lure Singaporeans beyond cities like Kuala Lumpur, Malacca and Johor Bahru as there is “a lot of untapped potential” in the north-east region of Malaysia.
Highlighting the upcoming Visit Terengganu Year 2017 campaign as an example, he said: “This state will leverage its well-known snorkelling and diving islands, Redang and Perhentian, to promote tourism in the mainland.
“I am sure a lot of (Singaporeans) have not been to this part of Malaysia before so we want to give them something new to see in Malaysia that they may not even realise existed.”
Ismail said they will be working closely with travel agents to further market and promote Terengganu.