Malaysia Airports Holdings and Tourism Malaysia have agreed on greater incentives to lure long-haul flights.
Aiming to boost inbound arrivals, Malaysia Airports Holdings and Tourism Malaysia have signed a deal to attract airlines and tour operators to launch more routes to the country.
The agreement follows the successful launch last year of a pilot project called the Joint International Tourism Development Programme (JITDP).
The airports and tourist board have now agreed to raise this programme’s budget to a total of RM20 million (€4.24 million) this year, an increase of RM5 million.
This is designed to enable it to further drive arrivals upwards, especially from long-haul and medium-haul markets.
Airlines and charter-flight operators would be able to access the funds by submitting plans for campaigns for flights to Malaysia, which will be reviewed by both Tourism Malaysia and Malaysia Airports.
Once approved, the funds can be used to cover 50% of the total cost of marketing the routes and promoting Malaysia, with the airline itself covering the remaining 50%. Last year, ten airlines took advantage of the programme.
But there are risks to the scheme, the executive director of the Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners, Shaharuddin Saaid, tells TTG Asia.
“Tourism Malaysia has to work hard to promote Malaysia to ensure the flights coming in are full or nearly full. If JITDP manages to attract new airlines but the flights coming in are half full, there is no point as the airline will not sustain its services for long.”