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‘Gujarat a key market’: Tourism Malaysia gears up for border opening, to rope in operators from Ahmedabad

Currently, Malaysia is closed for foreign tourists with the exception of students and essential workers. It is mulling to reopen borders if the Covid-19 situation improves.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
March 31, 2021 7:26:47 pm
5 lakh tourists visiting Malaysia every year, before the pandemic, a major chunk was from Gujarat. (Representational)

Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has hit the tourism industry worldwide, Tourism Malaysia has decided to touch base with international tour operators in Ahmedabad to woo potential tourists from Gujarat to famous destinations in Malaysia once travel restrictions are eased.

Currently, Malaysia is closed for foreign tourists with the exception of students and essential workers. It is mulling to reopen borders if the Covid-19 situation improves.

Addressing a virtual press conference during a two-day Gulf Travel Show on Wednesday, officials with Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board announced the launch of #WeMissYou campaign to attract tourists from India and Middle East once travel restrictions are lifted.

“At the virtual Gulf Travel Show 2021, we are planning to showcase Malaysia with our 10 selected tourism partners who will engage with potential buyers in Middle East and India during the 2-day virtual show. This a great opportunity for us to interact with the industry players and plan for the new normal… For this year, we are promoting the #WeMissYou to the market indicating that we miss the tourists coming to our beautiful country and can’t wait to see them again at the Malaysian shore soon,” said Shahrin Mokhtar, the director of Tourism Malaysia, Dubai.

Manoharan Periasamy, senior director of International Promotion Asia & Africa Division, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board said India and the Middle East markets have been a key source market for them. “Summer has always been a key Middle East market driver as we receive many travellers during this period, whilst May is the peak for Indian tourists. Over the past year, the pandemic, however, did hinder the situation, but now we are preparing once again to welcome our friends from India and the Middle East to a safer destination which would provide them what they require in terms of a secure, family friendly holiday escape,” Periasamy said.

Officials added Gujarat remains their top priority and they intend to explore potential tourists when the borders reopen. Of the 5 lakh tourists visiting Malaysia every year, before the pandemic, a major chunk was from Gujarat, they added.

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“Tourism Malaysia has pan-India presence, however, Gujarat remains one of our main markets to boost the tourism. For this, our Mumbai-based office is touching base with international tourism operators in Ahmedabad,” Periasamy said.

In 2018, the Tourism Malaysia had organised a training session of Ahmedabad-based tour operators with field professionals in Malaysia. Stressing that such an exercise will be repeated in the post-pandemic year, Mokhtar said, “Through webinars, we are not only connecting with our staff at Mumbai office, but will also organise training sessions for tour operators in Ahmedabad so that they are updated about the latest popular destinations and packages available. Operators will also be trained regarding guidelines of the World Health Organisation on travel protocols during Covid-19.”

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