Malaysia is set to welcome two more airlines flying daily from India this year. Following the recent launch of Air Asia’s flight from Kochi to Kuala Lampur, Malaysia Airlines will add to the same air route’s seat capacity with direct flights starting September. In addition, Malindo Air, a joint venture between National Aerospace and Defence Industries (NADI) of Malaysia and Lion Air of Indonesia, aims to commence daily direct flights from Delhi to Kuala Lampur from 15 August. This information was provided by Ng Yen Yen, Chairman, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board, on the sidelines of a press conference held in Mumbai. Malindo Air had recently revealed its target to launch flights out of New Delhi, Mumbai and a few other south Indian destinations.

Malaysia currently enjoys 106 direct flights a week from India, which provide 19,695 seats. The new flights will add considerably to this number. Yen Yen believes that accessibility is a prime factor in further popularising a tourist destination, which is why increased air capacity is a focus for Tourism Malaysia. “Malindo Air, especially, is a low cost carrier and will greatly help travel between Malaysia and India,” she opined.

Speaking about the importance of the Indian market, Yen Yen stated that India is Malaysia’s second largest source market after China. “India is a booming economy and I do not believe that the Rupee will remain in a slump for too long. Our Indian footfall has grown from 145.153 in 2003 to 691,271 in 2012. We aim to up these numbers to 7800,000, which is our target for 2013,” she added.

According to Yen Yen, Malaysia’s focus has shifted from US and Europe as source markets to China and India, owing to the rapid growth in footfall. She further added that luxury, adventure and MICE will be Tourism Malaysia’s key focus segments for the year. In addition, she revealed, MICE is a rapidly growing segment, with Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) working hard to make Malaysia a top MICE destination. Honeymoon and destination weddings are other segments being promoted in the Indian market.