Malaysia set for airline boost

Malaysia set for airline boost
By admin

Tourism Malaysia has hinted that another Australian port is on the cards for AirAsia X, with the tourism body expecting to reap the rewards of the carrier’s recently launched Sydney service.

Speaking to Travel Today last night at a Tourism Malaysia roadshow in Sydney, Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board director Shahrin Mokhtar was optimistic strong arrivals would result from the new service which launched in April.

“We are very confident it will boost numbers,” he said.

Mokhtar said the tourism body would support the airline in its quest for further Australian ports, indicating another addition to the network was on the cards.

“They are talking about one more,” he said.

The much-needed boost will come in the wake of declining visitor numbers in 2011. The destination recorded 550,000 Australian visitors for the year, down 3% on the previous year.

“Because of the strength of the Aussie dollar, Australians can now travel further to places like the US,” he said. “It used to be neighbouring countries in Asia, but now the US and Europe are our competitors.”

In addition, more countries were now making a play for the Australian market to counter declining numbers from economically fragile Europe.

“When Europe slows down economically, other tourism bodies start putting money into Australia – it’s getting very competitive,” Mokhtar said.

He reported good growth in January and March, but admitted February had been “a little soft”.

The tourism body will run several campaigns in partnership with major wholesalers and online travel agents between May and September to drive numbers from Australia, its number one long-haul source market.

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