Greater state incentives to help Malaysia airports lure international flights

From left: Malaysia Airports’ Emelia Tay Ling Imm; Tourism Malaysia’s Musa Yusof; Minister of tourism, arts & culture Malaysia Mohamaddin Ketapi; Ministry of Transport Malaysia’s Kamaruddin Jaafar; Malaysia Airports’ Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin; Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture Malaysia’s Haslina Abdul Hamid; and Ministry of Transport Malaysia’s Jana Santhiran

Malaysia Airports Holdings (MAH) and Tourism Malaysia have sealed an MoU for an enhanced version of the Joint International Tourism Development Programme (JITDP), which aims to increase inbound arrivals by incentivising airlines and charterers on their Malaysia campaigns and tacticals.

Following the successful launch of the pilot project last year, the programme’s budget has been increased by another RM5 million (US$1.2 million) this year, bringing it to a total of RM20 million, which will be shared equally between the two government entities.

From left: Malaysia Airports’ Emelia Tay Ling Imm; Tourism Malaysia’s Musa Yusof; Minister of tourism, arts & culture Malaysia Mohamaddin Ketapi; Ministry of Transport Malaysia’s Kamaruddin Jaafar; Malaysia Airports’ Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin; Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture Malaysia’s Haslina Abdul Hamid; and Ministry of Transport Malaysia’s Jana Santhiran

In its second year, JITDP aims to further increase arrivals particularly from medium- and longhaul markets.

Tourism Malaysia director-general, Musa Yusof, is looking at attracting more arrivals from Russia and CIS countries, as well as the Middle East, which are both long-stay markets for Malaysia, with the latter among the top spenders in the country.

While there is no target number set, Musa hopes that all the allocated funds will be used by the end of the year.

To utilise the funds, airlines and charterers will have to submit their plans for campaigns or tacticals for inbound flights to Malaysia, which will be reviewed by both Tourism Malaysia and MAH.

Once approved, the funds can be used to bear 50 per cent of the total cost of marketing and promotions of Malaysia, with the airline bearing the remaining 50 per cent. Last year, 10 airline companies benefited from the programme.

Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners executive director Shaharuddin Saaid, said the onus of success of JITDP rests on Tourism Malaysia.

He told TTG Asia: “Tourism Malaysia has to work hard to promote Malaysia to ensure the flights coming in are full or nearly full. If JITDP manages to attract new airlines, but the flights coming in are half full, there is no point as the airline will not sustain its services for long.”

Uzaidi Udanis, president, Malaysia Inbound Tourism Association also urged local tour operators to actively take part and support JITDP by promoting Malaysia to their overseas partners to stimulate interest, which will in turn attract new airlines and charter flights to consider flying to Malaysia.

“We are going to educate our members on this programme and identify overseas airlines and partners who can benefit,” Uzaidi said.

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