TRAVEL agents in Malaysia say the start of longhaul, no frills airline, AirAsia X to Gold Coast, Australia, at the end of September or early October offers the possibility of creating new packages that appeal to budget conscious Malaysian and Australian travellers.
At a press conference on Friday, Fly Asian Xpress (FAX) founder and director, Datuk Tony Fernandes, said airfares would range from as low as RM90 (US$26) to an average fare of RM1,900 (US$547) for a return ticket, including taxes. AirAsia X, operated by FAX, will fly the Kuala Lumpur-Gold Coast route four times weekly.
Donaplus Tours & Travel managing director, Mr Dominic Sinnappan, said he expected an influx of grassroots travellers from Malaysia and Australia and he would create new packages for the inbound and outbound markets.
He added: "AirAsia X fares allow grassroots travellers such as factory workers from Malaysia an opportunity to travel to Australia and we are looking at four-night/five-day packages to the Gold Coast with accommodation in budget hotels.
"For the inbound market from Australia, we're looking at the same length of stay in Sabah and the beaches off Terengganu as we know Australians love nature and beach holidays. We may also introduce gastronomy tours."
Asian Overland Services Tours & Travel (AOS) group managing director, Mr Anthony Wong, said he would employ a full-time representative in Sydney to promote Malaysia more aggressively to leisure tourists.
The company's general manager - domestic & outbound, Ms Latifah Tamerlane said AOS was also looking at family travel packages to Gold Coast and other special interest tours in Australia such as gastronomy and eco-travel.
With the new services, inbound tour operator, Asia Experience COO, Mr Ngiam Foon, said he hoped to grow his business from Australia by 20 per cent.
AirAsia X CEO, Mr Azran Osman-Rani, said subsequent destinations this year include Hangzhou and Tianjin in China and Avalon Airport in Australia. Next year, there are plans to fly to Amritsar in India.
Source : TTG
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