A valuable travel reward

A group of teachers from India was the first international incentive to visit Malaysia after the country reopened its borders on April 1. S Puvaneswary finds out more about the extensive planning involved for such post-lockdown trips

Event brief
A private school in India sponsored a performance-based incentive trip for 38 of its teachers to visit three countries in South-east Asia – Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand – in late April.

World Tour Bengaluru was appointed as the event organiser, who worked with their travel partners in the three countries to manage the group respectively.

Destination Explore, the appointed partner in Malaysia, was given two weeks to propose and run a 4D/3N itinerary in the country. The itinerary covered Selangor, the nation’s capital Kuala Lumpur, and Resorts World Genting.

Event highlights
For many delegates, this was their first time in Malaysia. Destination Explore ensured they had a memorable time and provided many Instagrammable opportunities by including visits to iconic places such as the Petronas Twin Towers and Genting Highlands, a must visit destination for many Indian tourists.

Delegates went on a guided cycling tour around Chinatown (Petaling Street); climbed 272 steps to reach the Hindu temple in Batu Caves; took a sightseeing cruise on Putrajaya Lake; spent a night at Resorts World Genting and enjoyed the cool mountain air; rode on the glass-floored gondola cable cars which offered jaw-dropping views of the 130-million-year-old rainforest; and went on rides at the new Genting SkyWorld theme park.

Using contacts from their network, Destination Explore also managed to get the delegates entry into the exclusive, members-only Malaysian Petroleum Club, located within the Petronas Twin Towers. There, they enjoyed high tea while taking in city views.

On their last night in Malaysia, delegates were treated to a gala dinner at Atmosphere 360, a revolving restaurant located in KL Tower (South-east Asia’s tallest communication tower). Situated 282m above ground, delegates had another panoramic view of the city, this time at night.

Challenges
The criteria for entry requirements kept changing during the early days of the reopening. For example, there was confusion whether PCR tests were required to enter Malaysia, or not.

Ganneesh Ramaa, vice president, international sales at Destination Explore approached an officer at Tourism Malaysia who in turn, liaised with the Health Ministry to obtain the latest entry requirements.

However, many suppliers were grappling with manpower issues. Hotels had not fully reopened, large restaurants that usually catered to groups could not accept bookings, and private transportation companies had yet to restart their operations.

Ganneesh shared that his company worked closely with Resort World Genting to secure rooms. “In normal circumstances, getting 38 rooms at First World Hotel, which has more than 7,000 keys, would not have been an issue. But they had yet to fully reopen.”

“Many restaurants were also facing manpower shortage, but we managed to convince them to hire and train sufficient freelancers to wait on the tables and ensure our guests were provided with great service,” he added.

Crossing borders to another country also meant that more tests were needed, but a chartered bus was hired for the group to head from Malaysia to Singapore. As land checkpoints into Singapore did not require a PCR test then, this helped to save some costs for the trip.

“We had to negotiate with a vehicle supplier for a good rate that was both fair to our client and could help the supplier sustain their business. We had to persuade them to renew their licenses, restart their operations, and provide us with transportation,” he elaborated.

Event Incentive for private school teachers from Bengaluru
Dates April 27 to May 1, 2022
Organiser World Tour Bengaluru
Number of attendees 38

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