AGENTS involved in the Indian outbound market to Malaysia are noticing a substantial increase in demand this summer peak season.
Those interviewed said this is mainly due to the recent introduction of e-visa facilities for Indian residents, as well as owing to new tour programmes and improved air connectivity between the two countries.
Managing director of New Delhi-based Carnation Travel Services, Rajesh Sethi, said: “It makes it much more convenient for Indian travellers making last minute decisions to travel to Malaysia for a short break not too far from home.
“In the past, getting a visa to travel to Malaysia can take as long as seven days.”
The e-visa facility, introduced in late April, is valid for a single journey stay of a maximum of 30 days. It can be obtained within 24 to 48 hours after application and has a validity of three months.
P. Anand, founder and CEO of Bangalore-based OTA Beyonder Experiences, says this can have knock-on effects for the region.
“The implementation of e-visa facilities for Indian tourists to Malaysia will help capture Indian tourists looking at holidays to South-east Asia, such as Indonesia, which had also recently implemented complimentary visa-on-arrival for Indian tourists,” he said.
For this summer season, he has seen demand for Malaysia as well as South-east Asia in general grow, which he believes is partly due to the perception that Asia is safer than Europe after the recent Paris and Brussels attacks.
Kuala Lumpur-based Red Apple Travel & Tours group managing director, Suneet Goenka, said: “With forward bookings in June looking strong, we are projecting a 15 to 18 per cent growth in arrivals compared to the same period in 2015.”
Intent on selling Kota Kinabalu, the state capital of Sabah in East Malaysia, which is also regarded as a new destination for the Indian market, Red Apple Travel has introduced a promotion that runs till end-October where clients who purchase four nights in Peninsular Malaysia will be given 50 per cent off their ground packages in Kota Kinabalu.
“This promotion has helped grow the upmarket FIT segment in Sabah,” said Goenka.
As well, Luxury Tours Malaysia has intensified promotions in Amritsar since Malindo Air started flying between Kuala Lumpur and Amritsar in October 2015.
It's senior manager, Arokia Das, said the FIT market from India has increased this summer due to AirAsia X’s reintroduction of its four-weekly Kuala Lumpur-New Delhi service on February 3.
“Though still early in the Indian summer season, we have seen more than 10 per cent increase in confirmed bookings to Malaysia,” he said.