News Roundup: Its Malaysia in the spotlight in the run-up to Visit Malaysia 2020 with two leading players spearheading the charge to drum up arrivals to the country Tourism Malaysias partnership with Chinese travel-focused social network Mafengwo and Malaysia Airlines new promotional campaign
Destination: Tourism Malaysia partners Mafengwo to tap Chinas outbound tourism market
News that the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has downgraded Malaysias air safety rating to Category 2 (from Category 1) due to its shortcomings as an aviation regulator on the eve of Visit Malaysia 2020 has sparked fears it will have adverse impact on tourist arrivals to the country.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) has stressed the move would not affect local airlines, airports or air traffic services. However, with safety uppermost on the mind of most travellers the Category 2 questionable safety could lead to negative perception of Malaysian carriers, said an analyst in a Bloomberg report.
Regardless, tourism players in the country are still going full steam to promote the special year and aim to achieve the 2020 target of 30 million international arrivals and RM100 billion (US$24 billion) in tourism receipts.
Tourism Malaysia is in the forefront of the marketing efforts. It recently formed a partnership with China-based travel SNS (Social Networking Service) platform, Mafengwo, to boost arrivals through digitalisation and social media.
Mafengwo, popular among Chinese consumers, enables users to share travel experiences with each other. It boasts more than one million entries of user-generated travel guides and over five million ratings and reviews.
According to Mafengwos senior vicepresident Yu Zhuo, its estimated 1.3 million users have been sharing theirexperiences, travel trips and guides on their trips to Malaysia.
The platforms core product, Travel Guide, has covered more than 95% travel destinations globally with over 100 million downloads. It has also integrated booking services such as Trip, eLong, Booking and Agoda.
The collaboration will see Mafengwo help Tourism Malaysia in its pursuit of smart tourism, which the latter has identified as a key thrust to promote Malaysia to the growing independent traveller segment and cultivate the Chinese outbound tourism market.
Mafengwo will also create richer online content for Chinese travellers
With the emergence of individualised demands from users Mafengwo shall employ a point of interest (POI) system to perform content customisation aimed at providing tourist from China better service, while establishing opportunities for merchants in Malaysia, she added.
Chan Hon Mun, Tourism Malaysias deputy director of the International Promotion Division (Asia/Africa), said the partnership would give the opportunity for Malaysia to increase its share of China market from 2.94 million arrivals to a potential target of 3.48 million in 2020.
According to data from Tourism Malaysia, last year tourist arrivals from the Middle Kingdom to Malaysia totalled 2.94 million, a growth of 29% over 2017. The travellers contributed RM12.3 billion (US$2.96 billion) to the national coffers.
From January to July this year arrivals from China increased to 1.87 million from 1.76 million over the same period in 2018, an increase of 6%. This makes China the third biggest tourist source market to Malaysia after Singapore and Indonesia.
Marketing: Malaysia Airlines invites the world to Fly Malaysia
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) launched its new campaign Fly Malaysia at last weeks World Travel Market in London, funding a range of activities to promote the country in key overseas markets and hike up international arrivals.
To run until end December 2020, the campaign celebrates the countrys proud history and reaffirming the airlines status as a national icon said the carrier.
Featured as part of the promotions are Home of Hospitality videos with well-known social media influencers discussing what they love most about Malaysia. These will run concurrently to numerous social media initiatives, pushing the Fly Malaysia message out to a wider audience.
In addition, the airline will publicise the Malaysian experience in target markets around the world through travel partner cooperation, consumer activities, press visits and the launch of MH Holidays.
We have been flying passengers aroundtheworld for over 70 years, and look forward to welcoming many moreaboard in 2020 and beyond toexperience Malaysia with this campaign, saidIzham Ismail, Malaysia Airlines Group CEO.
The carrier is supporting Tourism Malaysia in an expanded partnership deal for 2020 alongside its cooperation with the Sarawak Tourism Board.
MAS is also the global airline partner for the Malaysian Healthcare Travel Council and the SuperGT racing series.
Featured image credit: Sushiman/Getty Images
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