LANGKAWI, May 5 (Bernama) -- Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) is seeing 2017 as an apt year to accelerate visitor arrival growth from the Middle East following its mission to the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai recently.
LADA chief executive officer, Datuk Azizan Noordin who led the delegation said the trip had been promising and industry players here should prepare themselves to welcome more Middle East tourists.
"The mission had been a success. We met a lot of Arab tour operators who are prepared to include Langkawi in their tour packages," he said when met on Thursday evening.
The mission also included meeting owners of leading airlines, namely Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airlines, to seek the possibility of direct flights between Langkawi and their respective destinations in the Middle East.
"While we already have direct flights from Singapore and China, we should have direct flights from the Middle East and India as well, to boost tourist arrival from these countries," he said.
Azizan said Middle East tourists made up Langkawi's third largest number of foreign visitors last year after those from ASEAN countries and China.
Although their number represented only about 20 percent of Langkawi's 3.64 million foreign visitors in 2016, their length of stay and expenses were significantly higher than other tourists, he said.
He said based on Tourism Malaysia's statistics last year, the average length of stay by Arab tourists in Malaysia was 10.1 nights, who individually spent RM8,000 per day on average.
Tourists from other countries stayed an average of 6.2 nights and spent RM2,800 per day per person, he said.
"The Arab tourists would stay in four and five-star hotels and have no second thoughts about trying all the (premium) tourism products like leisure cruises, helicopter rides, mangrove tour and cable car rides," he added.