As the tour operator giant reveals a new fly-cruise program, Condor aims to launch flights.
Both TUI Group and Malaysia hope that the company’s latest move will help to slow a decline in arrivals to the Asia country from key European markets – with a new Fly & Cruise program.
Available from December 20 until March 29 next year, it will see the tour operator offering direct flights to Langkawi for its European customers followed by cruises out of Langkawi to the surrounding region.
The program is initially being launched with three fortnightly flights on a 787 Dreamliner from three UK airports – London Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham, TTG Asia reports Tourism Malaysia as saying.
With TUI’s cruise ship homeporting in Langkawi, all passengers will spend at least one night there before embarking on a 14-day itinerary to include Penang, Port Klang and Malacca in Malaysia, as well as Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
The total potential capacity is expected to be about 7,200 passengers in the first year of operation.
“This initiative by TUI Group will strongly boost the visibility of Malaysia across all European source markets,” says Tourism Malaysia’s director general, Mirza Mohammad Taiyab.
“At the same time, our position as an international transportation hub will increase and add value to our economy.”
The initiative supports the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign, which aims to take 36 million tourists to Malaysia and register RM168 billion (€35 billion) in tourist receipts.
TUI Group’s director for international partnerships, Frank Vahldiek, said: “Our strategic priority is to drive growth in all-year destinations – and Asia is one of the key growth regions. Our European customers show an ever growing interest to visit countries such as Malaysia.”
Meanwhile, Germany’s Condor has announced three-times-weekly flights between Frankfurt and Kuala Lumpur, from the fourth quarter of this year. It will be the only airline to fly the route. Both Condor and TUI could help to stop declining visitor numbers to Malaysia – down 15.7% from Germany in 2017 and 10.4% from the UK.