VANCOUVER — Tourism Malaysia is launching an aggressive marketing campaign for ‘Visit Malaysia Year 2014’ in Canada and is hoping to boost inbound Canadian traffic after tourism figures for 2012 flat-lined just over 1% from the previous year.
Newly appointed tourism minister Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Adbul Aziz was in Vancouver earlier this month outlining the campaign, which included a marketing campaign with Travelweek that could benefit agents. The minister said that through travel agent incentives, a Facebook contest to create consumer awareness, special promotions, encouraging tour packaging and road shows, his department would be working hard to grow the numbers from Canada in 2013 but targeting a significant rise in 2014.
“The main purpose of this visit is to network,” he said, adding that the mission was targeting both business and leisure travel.
For Malaysia, which has no direct flight out of Vancouver, saw traffic rise slightly in 2012 to 86,931 Canadian travellers compared to 86,000 travellers the previous year. In 2013, the minister said, Malaysia is targeting 92,000 Canadians. “I think it is achievable,” he said as early second quarter results are showing a rise in numbers over last year.
An ambitious program launched into the Canadian market is expecting to pump the numbers higher in 2014, with a goal of 97,500 visitors.
He acknowledged the lack of direct air service to the destination but said Vancouver is serviced by carriers that fly to nearby Asian destinations, such as Singapore and Thailand. “The message is that you are not that far away and it is easy to travel to Malaysia.”
Some progress, though, was being made to restore direct service after Malaysia’s national carrier pulled out of Vancouver because of lack of traffic years ago, the minister said.
“Malaysia Airlines is talking with Air Canada,” he said, adding that there is a possibility that Air Canada could feed into the Malaysia Airlines connection out of Los Angeles. “Hopefully the talks will be fruitful.”
The new campaign which is encouraging Canadians to visit Malaysia is emphasizing two aspects – one that Kuala Lumpar is considered the fourth best shopping spot in the world and secondly, areas of Malaysia can offer eco-tourism that is not found anywhere else in the world such as the pygmy elephant and proboscis monkey.
The minister, speaking at a press conference for travel trade journalists and other media, encouraged the travel industry to sell the regions outside major cities as they were known for their natural attractions and distinct wildlife. “By bringing more people into these areas,” he said, “we can show our people that these areas have value and this will promote conservation.”
For Canadians, he said, Malaysia is still a bargain as the Canadian dollars finds triple value when compared to the local currency. He said that hotels, food and beverages are priced to the local market, not tourism, providing good value for incoming Canadians. “If I were a Canadian, I would visit Malaysia every four months,” he said.
As part Tourism Malaysia’s new marketing campaign, Travelweek launched a ‘Book & Win’ contest in conjunction with Tourism Malaysia, Qatar Airways, and Skylink. To win 2 tickets to Kuala Lumpur and six nights’ accommodation go to our contest page.