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Friday, January 20, 2017
Trade unfazed by Tourism Malaysia's shrinking presence in longhaul markets
Skyline of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tourism Malaysia is in the midst of closing
its offices in Los Angeles, New York, Stockholm and Johannesburg to consolidate
its marketing activities into more effective markets where there are direct
Minister of Tourism and Culture Malaysia, Mohamed
Nazri Abdul Aziz said that it was difficult to promote Malaysia in these
markets as there are no longer any direct flights. Due to losses, the flag
carrier suspended services to Stockholm and New York in 2009, Johannesburg in
2012, and Los Angeles in 2014.
Emphasising that longhaul markets continue to
be important because they contribute to the length of stay, Abdul Khani Daud,
deputy director-general advertising and digital, Tourism Malaysia, said: “The
travel trade in the affected markets will be supported by other overseas
offices. Tourism Malaysia will also leverage on digital marketing and be
present in key travel tradeshows such as ITB Berlin and Matka Nordic Travel
According to Mohamed Nazri, the savings of
approximately RM4.5 million (US$1 million) in operational costs from the office
closures will be used to open more offices in China and India. Both these
markets produced some 2.3 million tourists to Malaysia in the first 10 months
Hamzah Rahmat, president of the Malaysian
Association of Tour And Travel Agents, said “the government has made the right
move by putting its money where the return is good. China and India are two
huge markets for Malaysia and there are a lot of direct flights”.
Shirish N Trivedi, president at Travel
Leaders Baltimore, US, said he was not alarmed by the closure as he is
supported by his partners in Malaysia and does not depend on Tourism Malaysia’s
offices in the US.
Neoh, director of sales, The Royale Bintang Penang, said the hotel’s US market
share is growing annually. Tourism Malaysia’s restructuring overseas was not a
concern for her as sales came mainly from OTAs.