Malaysia to target international tourists from September

Tourism Malaysia plans to restart international promotion efforts from this September. In the interim, the focus will be on domestic recovery and ongoing publicity around the country’s efforts to combat COVID-19.

Tourism Malaysia will be leveraging social media and its overseas offices to communicate information on what the Health Ministry has been doing to flatten the curve in Malaysia, and the protective measures being taken against COVID-19 by the hospitality industry.

Efforts will also go towards strengthening the long standing Malaysia Truly Asia branding and to build stronger awareness within the international community for Malaysia as a preferred destination.

Tourism Malaysia believes that once the outbreak has been contained locally, the immediate plan is to refocus on domestic tourism to increase demand for the travel trade and related services, including airlines, accommodation, land transport, retail, and food.

Tourism Malaysia will work closely with industry partners to organise physical and virtual travel fairs. It will also encourage business event organisers to hold their events domestically.

To support the travel trade with international, post-pandemic promotions Tourism Malaysia is increasing the threshold of its matching grant to RM35,000 (US$8,040) per company for participation at international trade fairs, up from RM15,000 previously.

There are also plans to revive joint promotions and tactical campaigns with strategic airline partners and outbound travel operators overseas which had been put on hold due to COVID-19. This includes collaborations with domestic carriers such as Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia and foreign airlines including Turkish Airways, Emirates and Etihad.

Support for tour operators will also be introduced at a later stage for both overseas tour operators selling Malaysia, as well as their inbound counterparts.

Tourism Malaysia suggests that there may be a demand for wellness travel and a reduction in group travel.

Tourism Malaysia will also organise familiarisation trips for key opinion leaders and media outlets specialising in niche segments exhibiting promising growth, including health tourism.

The government recently cancelled the Visit Malaysia Campaign 2020 (VM2020), and deferred Malaysia Year of Healthcare Travel 2020. It also imposed a freeze on all over-the-counter and online services for new applications, license renewal of travel operating businesses and registration of spa and foot massage centres.  All tourist accommodation premises are allowed to operate at minimum level.