From a market that displays double-digit growth annually, arrivals this summer from the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council countries) have halved for Triways Travel and Asian Overland Services, while M-Vision Travel has seen a 30 per cent drop over the summer of 2008.
Asian Overland Services’ director of sales and business development Andy Muniandy recalled that prospects were “encouraging” when he did sales calls in the GCC from end-March to May. He was also “excited” that Middle East carriers with direct connections to Kuala Lumpur were increasing frequencies.
Agents blame the global financial crisis, A/H1N1 scare and competition from Thailand and Singapore, which began slashing hotel rates early this year. Yet, Triways’ managing director Akil Yusof said five-star hotels in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Langkawi were “overly confident”. When they finally gave better rates at the end of June/early July, it was too late as the travellers had chosen alternative destinations.
The peak travel season will be even shorter in 2010, by half, to a month as, based on the experience of these past two years, many Muslim travellers want to return at least a week before the fasting month of Ramadan.
Malaysian agents said they have started wooing new markets. Traditionally, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar comprise the four largest sources. Tourism Malaysia is marketing to Yemen, Oman and North Africa
Source : TTG
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