South India is poised to become a major source of tourists for Malaysia, with holiday-makers from states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu, capitalising on the increasing air accessibility to Southeast Asian capitals.
With India's changing economic topography, plus the availability of cheaper flights, visitors from southern cities are increasingly selecting Malaysia as their value-for-money destination.
"South India is one of our focal points to draw tourists to Malaysia. It is becoming a favourite family destination, mainly due to the accessibility and shorter travel time.
"We are expecting a double digit growth this year from south India," P. Manoharan, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board director for India told Bernama today.
With over 60 weekly flights from South India alone, more Indians from cities like Chennai, Cochin, Hyderabad and Tiruchi find it cheaper and convenient to travel to Malaysian tourist spots, compared to domestic holiday travels.
India's thriving outbound travel is forecast to grow at about 13 per cent annually, driven largely by the robust economy, which had boost up disposable income.
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation estimates that India's outbound tourists would hit 50 million by 2020, as more Indians eye overseas holidays.
Last year, about 690,000 Indians landed on Malaysian shores. This year, figures are expected to expand by another 17 per cent.
"Friendly environment, cultural similarities and shopping are some elements that continue to attract Indian tourists to Malaysia. It is a potential market," added Manoharan.
Source : Bernama
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