Malaysia intensifies efforts to push up Scandinavia arrivals
Langkawi, the northern Malaysian archipelago close to the border with Thailand, is intensifying efforts to push up arrivals from the Nordics and from Europe, which have been hit by Malaysia Airlines’ suspension of most of its routes to the continent.
“European arrivals, which make up 20% of international visitors to the island, are important as they spend an average of seven to eight nights in Langkawi,” Langkawi Development Authority CEO Azizan Noordin tells TTG Asia. “The top three European markets to Langkawi are the UK, Germany and Scandinavia.”
To attract Scandinavian and northern European travellers, the state tourism boards of Sabah and Sarawak, together with the Langkawi Development Authority and supported by inbound agents, will jointly promote packages at the upcoming Matka Nordic Travel Fair in Helsinki in January 2018.
Sabah, Sarawak and Langkawi offer cultural and nature-based attractions that appeal to these markets, Azizan thinks. Langkawi is highlighting its beaches and islands, Sabah its dive sites and Kinabalu Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while Sarawak highlights the Mulu National Park, also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The appeal of the multi-destination packages is further enhanced by AirAsia’s introduction of services between Kuching and Langkawi in August as well as existing domestic flights between Sabah and Sarawak.
Reality TV show
In addition, a reality television show, Differences Aside, produced by CNN in collaboration with Travel Leisure Channel in Langkawi, is expected to be aired early next year. Shooting in Langkawi will start next month, Azizan said.
It will see participants from the US, the UK, the Middle East, Kazakhstan, China, Australia, Japan and Malaysia participating in treasure-hunt type activities that showcase Langkawi’s attractions such as abseiling and jet-skiing.
“This will further promote Langkawi as an island destination to the world,” said Azizan.
Outbound agents Azizan met at the recent World Travel Market showed a keen interest in such packages, and five groups of travel agents and media from Europe will be hosted next month and in January.
While Malaysia Airlines has slashed all its European routes except to the UK, which it continues to fly twice daily, Tourism Malaysia and the Langkawi Development Authority work with many carriers including Singapore Airlines, THAI, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways on joint promotions to attract long-haul visitors.