Spotlight on Malaysia - Edition 4
12 July 2022
Karen Saw is Tourism Australia’s Acting Country Manager Malaysia. Prior to this, Karen was responsible for developing and growing the commercial partnerships and distribution network in Malaysia in her role as Business Development Manager. She boasts some of the best performing partnerships with airlines, key distribution partners and others in the TA network.
In your last update, you shared insights into your plans to support recovery from the Malaysia market. Please update us on how this is tracking.
The easing of travel restrictions between Malaysia and Australia created a surge in international travel demand. To convert this demand we launched the ‘Discover a Great Deal More’ Virtual Travel Fair across the South and South East Asia region which ran from 21 April to 15 May. The three-week campaign featured 36 airlines, online travel agents and key distribution partners from the region, offering attractive travel deals across online, social media, print, radio, and digital out-of-home advertising resulting in more than 10,000 passenger bookings for Australia.
At the 2022 Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) Live we hosted 27 Malaysian buyer delegates. They were pleased to meet Australian industry partners face-to-face to discuss business opportunities, gain product updates and experience new products. Following participation at ATE and the New South Wales familiarisation, one Malaysian key distribution partner immediately booked a group to a new product experienced at the event.
In collaboration with Tourism Western Australia, we hosted product planners from eight key partners for a familiarisation trip showcasing major developments and changes that have taken place in Western Australia and Perth over the past two years.
In June, we also held our first in-person Aussie Specialist Program (ASP) workshop after two years. The workshop was a great opportunity to reconnect with Aussie Specialist Agents and provide updates on the latest developments with key highlights including the ASP 2.0 platform, sustainability and Indigenous topics.
Planning for corporate incentive travel is also strong, with Business Events (BE) trade partners seeing an increase of enquiries for travel in the remainder of 2022 and beyond.
How is consumer sentiment towards travel? Are there any booking trends emerging, relevant to Australia?
Consumer sentiment towards travel is positive and Malaysians are ready to travel leading to high demand for passport applications and renewals.
Since Australia removed pre-departure testing requirements in mid-April, trade partners are seeing a continued surge in enquiries and bookings. Supported by data from ForwardKeys, Malaysia has been one of the top performing markets in the last four weeks, with forward flight bookings to Australia tracking between 90 to 190 per cent compared to same period in 2019.
We continue to maintain strong relationships with our partners in Malaysia and welcome the opportunity to support Australian industry to access the market. Please contact us, should you have any questions.
How did the Malaysia trade and media respond to the announcement of Australia’s borders re-opening in February?
Media in Malaysia were very positive about Australia’s reopening. Around 50 earned articles have been generated since February, including topics like the Yours to Explore campaign, the Virtual Travel Fair in Malaysia, winter and festival experiences to discover in Australia and top Muslim-friendly tourism options.
Other media stories have featured the Working Holiday Maker scheme as well as Malaysian restaurants finding success in Australia.
Malaysia trade partners are optimistic, they have been seeing steady growth in enquiries and travel searches to Australia as a destination since the borders reopened. Despite some visa processing delays for Malaysian travellers, they are confident that the demand will convert into bookings as these challenges are resolved.
What in-market activities are you planning this year?
The Malaysia team have a number of activities planned for the coming months to keep engagement with trade partners and consumers high.
- On-going Aussie Specialist activities including webinars and face-to-face training.
- Potential familiarisation trip targeted at Aussie Specialist and frontline agents to increase their confidence and knowledge in selling Australia.
- Business Events activities to engage with corporate and trade, the key focus is to secure more events to Australia for 2022 and beyond.
- Partnership activity with key distribution partners to target high yielding customers.