Mount Kinabalu, jungles, beaches and diving areas in the Sabah state were among the new destinations that Malaysian travel firms introduced to their counterparts in Ho Chi Minh City last week and in Hanoi on Monday as part of the Malaysian Borneo Tourism Seminar and Travel Mart 2011 in Vietnam.
Mohd Akbal Setia, director of Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board in Vietnam, said the major event was for travel companies in Vietnam and Sabah to mull packages consisted of islands, beaches and adventures for the Vietnamese market.
Setia said there was huge potential to draw Vietnamese nature lovers and adventurous travelers to new destinations in Malaysia in addition to general tourists to sightseeing sites and shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur, Genting and Malacca.
“More people want to do something else with eco-tourism and adventures, and Sabah can cater to this rising demand,” Setia told the Daily after the meeting arranged last Friday for Malaysian firms to meet with representatives of some 30 travel firms in HCMC.
Representatives of Vietnam tour operator applauded the joint effort of the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board and Sabah Tourism Board for offering Vietnamese travelers, particularly MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) guests, more options and reasons to visit Malaysia.
Setia said that the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board saw increasing interest of Vietnamese travelers in new places and steady growth in the number of Vietnamese visitors to Malaysia over the past years.
Malaysia attracted roughly 59,000 Vietnamese visitors in the first five months of this year compared to 58,770 in the year earlier period. Setia said the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board was looking to 166,000 this year.
Vietnamese arrivals in Malaysia are forecast to jump in summer months as reported by Vietnamese travel firms at the Malaysian Borneo Tourism Seminar and Travel Mart 2011 in Ho Chi Minh City last Friday. There have been more flights between Vietnam and Malaysia this year.
Each of Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia operates three daily flights to and from Ho Chi Minh City and one from Hanoi, and these flights can be connected with their daily services from the Malaysian city of Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah.
Vietnam Airlines’ launch of its direct daily service between Hanoi and Kuala Lumpur in mid-June this year brought the carrier’s number of flights between Vietnam and Malaysia to 21 a week.
Setia said Vietnam was now ranked Malaysia’s 14th visitor-generating market and expected that Vietnam would be in the list of his country’s top 10 markets in terms of visitors in the next three years.
Source: The Saigon times