Monday, January 01, 2007

Airlines Top Gainers from Tourism Promotions

IT goes without saying that airlines would be one of the beneficiaries of Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2007. Analysts have pointed out that they will, in fact, be the main beneficiaries of the 12-month-long campaign, being responsible for bringing foreigners into the country.

“We expect VMY2007 to boost our business as we are in the ideal position to leverage on inbound tourism,” Malaysia Airlines (MAS) executive director and chief financial officer Tengku Azmil Zahruddin said.

“Our joint promotion with Tourism Malaysia will include their sales mission, participation in consumer promotions, fairs and exhibitions,” he told StarBiz.

Tengku Azmil said that in view of VMY2007, the national carrier was also marketing creative packages such as the Discover Malaysia Pass, whereby foreign tourists could visit five Malaysian destinations of their choice for an airfare of US$199 only.

“There is also the Golden Holidays Medical Package supporting the Government’s efforts to promote medical tourism in the country. The packages include a medical check-up, accommodation with daily breakfast and airport transfers for prices ranging from US$300 to US$1,029,” he said.

“We have also clinched a deal with the largest Swedish tour operator to bring tourists into Malaysia from the Scandinavian region and are in the process of concluding similar arrangements in other countries.”

Asked whether VMY2007 would impact the company’s financial performance, Tengku Azmil said: “We expect that the multiplier effect of the tourist dollars during VMY2007 would boost MAS’ business.”

“We expect this year to be a good one for all parties involved. The Tourism Ministry, Tourism Malaysia and most of the states are all geared up to welcome the tourists.

“In addition, the VMY2007 secretariat is coordinating over 200 events across the country with 50 major events to showcase Malaysia’s wealth of tourism attractions. This, and our country’s natural beauty, including the lush forests, pristine waterfalls and diving spots, as well as warm hospitality, will help us win tourists to Malaysia,” he said.

Tengku Azmil cautioned, however, that some VMY2007 efforts might be hampered by floods, as well as the annual occurrence of the haze.

Over at no-frills carrier AirAsia Bhd, group chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes is very excited and optimistic on the prospects of VMY2007. “For sure, our financial performance will improve significantly, “ he told StarBiz. Fernandes said AirAsia would allocate some RM7mil to RM8mil for promotional activities this year.

He said the company was working closely with Tourism Malaysia to ensure the best for its customers.

“Our promotional activities will be centred on low fares,” he said, adding that these, together with other promotions, would be announced soon.

Alban LeeEmirates country manager (Malaysia) Alban Lee is equally excited about VMY2007. “ We are a supporting partner of Tourism Malaysia and will do all we can to create awareness about the country worldwide,” he said.

“The tourism industry this year is going to be vibrant and exciting with the expected increase in tourist arrivals,” Lee said.

Etihad Airways, United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) national airline, is also positive on the campaign and recently teamed up with Tourism Malaysia to promote its latest destination, Kuala Lumpur, at the Autocar Middle East Awards.

“Since announcing that we will soon fly to KL, Etihad has been inundated with bookings from guests looking to experience Malaysia’s multi-cultural delights, either as part of a city trip or an adventure holiday,” said Etihad Airways head of marketing Peter Baumgartner in a statement last week. Tourism Malaysia's UAE, Gulf and Iran director Syed Muhadzir Jamallulil meanwhile said the launch of Ethihad’s flight to KL this month was very exciting as the country was celebrating the VMY2007 campaign.

“Etihad’s Kuala Lumpur flights to KL will assist Tourism Malaysia in bringing more tourists from the Middle East region to the country,” he said.

Source : STAR
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