Africa tourism

Roadshows to Iran, Oman and Qatar kick off West Asia tourism promotion

The reopening of Malaysia’s borders in April offers travelers from West Asia the opportunity to visit and explore the Southeast Asian country – recognized as a favorite family and Muslim destination, said a senior official from Tourism Malaysia.
“One of Malaysia’s main advantages is that it offers many Muslim-friendly facilities,” said Manoharan Periasamy, senior director of the International Promotion Division (Asia/Africa). “People from the region feel more comfortable when traveling to Malaysia because halal food and mosques are there.”

Manoharan Periasamy speaking to reporters at a recent roadshow in Doha. PHOTO: Shaji Kayamkulam

“We want to capitalize on that, where people don’t have to feel alienated,” he said. “Halal food is everywhere in Malaysia, you can walk around with the hijab or the head covering.”
He spoke to reporters during Tourism Malaysia’s roadshows to Iran, Oman and Qatar, held from May 13 to 21, designed to attract more visitors from West Asia.
The roadshows brought together the Malaysian tourism fraternity made up of travel agents, hoteliers, product owners, state tourism bodies and medical tourism industry players, visiting Tehran, Muscat and Doha .
“We have several activities tailored to the Middle Eastern market,” Periasamy said, citing an array of family tourism offerings, including adventure seekers.
He said Malaysia has many new attractions such as the Genting Highlands which have undergone a major transformation, in addition to the famous Sunway Lagoon theme park, Sunway Resort in Kuala Lumpur and the second tallest skyscraper in the world. , Merdeka 118, among others. .
He added that soft adventure activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving would continue to attract tourists due to Malaysia’s pristine beaches and beautiful coral reefs.
Tourism Malaysia noted that travelers from the West Asian market dominate the top five spenders of international tourists in Malaysia in terms of per capita spending, and generally stay longer than tourists from other markets.
Visitors to the region, including nationals of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, have an average per capita spend of around $3,000, staying between 10 and 14 days.
According to Periasamy, young Arab visitors between the ages of 22 and 25 prefer adventure to the usual city tour, exploring other destinations beyond Kuala Lumpur.
“They like going to Kota Kinabalu, going to the islands, they like snorkeling, some soft adventure activities, so we’re seeing that trend,” he said. “They’re spreading out, not really concentrating in the city.”
“Over the past couple of years, we have realized that (all of a sudden) we don’t see Arabs in Kuala Lumpur…they’ve disappeared, they’re going somewhere else, maybe they’re changing because of (the coronavirus pandemic), they don’t want to be in a populated area,” Periasamy said. “They want to enjoy the holidays and be part of it, not just sit around and watch the Twin Towers.”
“Now they want to have fun and don’t want to be part of the attraction, but rather they’re going on a sunset cruise or biking and trekking,” he added.
In a press release, Tourism Malaysia Managing Director Zainuddin Abdul Wahab said it was a timely opportunity to strengthen their partnership with international airlines such as Qatar Airways, Oman Air and Mahan Air, which offer flights direct to Kuala Lumpur, while Malaysia welcomes more travelers from West Asia.
According to Tourism Malaysia, fully vaccinated inbound travelers are no longer required to be tested for coronavirus (Covid-19) before departure and upon arrival, including children aged 12 and under.
This also includes those who have tested positive for Covid-19 within 6-60 days of departure for Malaysia.
Travel insurance is also not a prerequisite for foreigners entering the country.