Betting on the pent-up demand for international leisure and corporate travel and opening up of border, Malaysia Tourism has set a target to attract at least one million Indian tourists to the country by 2024.

“Before the Covid-19 pandemic, we had double-digit growth in Indian tourist arrivals. With the closing of the Malaysian border, we witnessed negative growth. Now, our target is to attract at least one million Indian tourists to Malaysia by 2024,” Manoharan Periasamy, Senior Director, International Promotion Division (Asia & Africa), Tourism Malaysia told BusinessLine

He was speaking on the sidelines of a Tourism Malaysia roadshow held in the city on Friday. On April 1, Malaysia lifted sanctions on its border marking the end of travel restrictions into the country. Tourism Malaysia has organised roadshows in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Chennai to woo Indian tourists to the Southeast Asian nation.

Active tourism market

Historically, India has been one of the top market sources for Malaysia. Indian tourist arrivals stood at 7,35,000 in 2019. “We just opened the border and eased the regulations so we expect travel to pick up in the coming months. We are expecting at least 1 lakh Indian tourist arrivals in 2022,” Periasamy said.

Noting that the leisure travel segment will pick up during the international vacation period in May, Periasamy said, the meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) segment is already showing signs of faster recovery ever since the border reopening. 

“Before the pandemic, we had more than 200 weekly flights from India. Now, we have 76 flights a week from India to Malaysia, out of which 59 are from south India. We are expecting at least 10-15 weekly flights to be added to the total frequency,” Periasamy said. 

Among the top four arrivals

Razaidi Abd Rahim, Director of Tourism Malaysia (South India & Sri Lanka) said that since the reopening of its borders, India is among the top four arrivals to Malaysia. 

“From May 1, 2022, Malaysia has further announced Covid-19 SOP relaxation where fully vaccinated travellers and children aged under 12 and below are exempted from pre-departure and on-arrival tests. Covid-19 insurance is no longer required for all travellers entering Malaysia,” Rahim said.

“Currently, Malaysian e-Visa can be applied online and more than 14,000 seats are offered weekly between India and Malaysia through Malaysia Airlines, Batik Air(Malindo Air), AirAsia, IndiGo, and Air India Express,” he added.