BERLIN, March 24 (NNN-Bernama) — Travel Corporation of India (TCI), one of India’s top outbound tour operators, describes Malaysia as “uniquely attractive destination”.
Rakshit Desai, TCI’s Mumbai-based director, who was in Berlin to participate in the just-concluded International Tourism Bourse (ITB), the world’s largest tourism fair, said that his company offers tour packages to European and Southeast Asian destinations and “Malaysia is a very popular destination for Indian tourists.”
“Indeed, it is a central component of our Southeast Asia outbound programme and we have organised thousands of trips to Malaysia so far,” he told Bernama in Berlin.
TCI sells leisure products for a corporate clientele, many of whom prefer to visit Malaysia because “it is unique and affordable with an abundance of natural, historical and cultural attractions”.
“Indeed, the Malaysian market has a good outlook and is generally perceived as very strong,” said Desai whose company offers MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibitions) travel, the independent leisure tourists and escorted tourists.
Rakshit said Malaysia’s strength, compared to other destinations in Southeast Asia, lies in easy accessibility, affordability and an enchanting landscape.
Indian tourists love the long and pristine sandy beaches of Langkawi whose duty-free shopping facilities have an instant appeal for shopping-obsessed tourists from the subcontinent, he said.
“Langkawi is ideal for newly married couples who enjoy the calm and beauty of Langkawi beaches. The island is very popular among Indian tourists because of the quality of its hotels… these are outstanding properties.
“Genting has been another traditionally popular resort among Indian tourists,” the TCI director observed.
Rakshit said that his company works closely with the Mumbai office of the Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board which promotes tourism to Malaysia, however, Indian tourists would like to see Malaysia’s visa system liberalised for Indian passport holders.
Unlike Singapore and a number of other Asian countries, Malaysia does not provide Indian passport holders the “Visa on Arrival” (VOA) facility, he said, pointing out that the absence of a VOA facility can become a “psychological deterrent” to would-be tourists.
He said Indian tourists are amongst the highest-spending in the world and the “cash-rich middle class Indians do not just spend money on tourism per se; they have a fascination for overseas shopping which, in the final analysis, can benefit an entire range of segments of the economy.”
When told that some Indian workers took advantage of Malaysia’s former liberal visa system and overstayed in Malaysia as illegals, Desai countered that that was a small number compared to the large numbers of genuine tourists.
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