Saturday, September 1, 2012

Nepal, Malaysia to jointly promote tourism

Malaysia has invited Nepal to cooperate in promoting tourism in both the countries. Both the countries must seek a collaborative tourism development programme to develop the sector and generate mass employment, said director general of Tourism Malaysia Dato’ Mirza Mohamud Taiyab during a Malaysia food and cultural programme and mini travel mart here today.
“Malaysia and Nepal both share vast potential in tourism and we have to explore it,” he said, addressing the programme here today
Malaysia Airlines' flights between Kuala Lumpur and Kathmandu will boost tourism in both countries, opined the director general, who has been leading a group of travel agents, hotels and other tourism officials from Malaysia to Nepal.
Malaysia is the ninth most-visited country in the world, with 24.7 million tourists visiting the country in 2011, and it earned $19 billion from the industry. However, the Nepali tourism industry is expecting only one million tourists a year.
Nepal is an emerging market for Malaysia, with a total of 81,800 tourist arrivals recorded from January to October 2011. This year, from January to June, a total of 51,400 tourists from Nepal visited Malaysia. It is about a 43.9 per cent growth as compared to the same period last year.
Similarly, about 20,000 Malaysians have been visiting Nepal annually since the last couple of years. Direct flights of Malaysia Airlines are expected to boost the flow of Malaysian tourists to Nepal in the coming days. The airlines started direct flights between Kuala Lumpur and Kathmandu from today.
The Malaysia Airlines has begun direct flight between Kathmandu and Kuala Lumpur thrice a week from today.
Issuing a press release today, the Airlines informed that a two-class configured Boeing 737-800 aircraft with 144 economy class seats and 16 business class seats would be used for Kathmandu-Kuala Lumpur return service.
The Malaysia Airlines flight MH171 departs Kathmandu on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 12:20pm to arrive at Kuala Lumpur at 7:14pm. On the same days, the inbound flight MH170 departs Kuala Lumpur at 8:55am and arrives at Kathmandu at 11:30am, according to the airlines.
Currently, the Airlines is offering all-in return economy class promotional fares starting from Rs 45,619 to travel Malaysia from Kathmandu.
Regional Senior Vice-President of the Airlines for Middles East and South Asia, Azahar Hamid said the direct connection between Nepal and Malaysia could mutually benefit from various commercial relations, including trade, investment and tourism.
But the airlines is already planning to increase its flight frequency to five from the current three flights week. "The airlines is planning to increase the flights to five times a week depending on the air traffic,” according to the Malaysia Airlines.
"We annually receive 24.7 billion tourist and Malaysian tourism industry as a whole received a total income of $19 billion last year,” said Taiyab.
The tourism sector of Malaysia is the third largest foreign exchange earner for the country. It targets $52.8 billion tourism receipt and 36 million tourist arrivals by the year 2020. Malaysia is the ninth most-visited country in the world with 24.7 million tourists visiting the country in 2011.
In 2011, around 82,000 Nepalis went to Malaysia on holidays, whereas Nepal received 8,286 visitors from Malaysia. Nepal is an emerging market for Malaysia.
Similarly, with more direct flights between Malaysia and Nepal, Nepal can also become a tourism hub for South East Asian tourists.
Malaysian budget carrier Air Asia and Malaysian flag-carrier Malaysia Airlines, apart from Nepal's flag-carrier Nepal Airlines are already flying on the route currently, whereas domestic international airlines BB Airways is planning to start its flight on Kathmandu-Kuala Lumpur route from September 13.
The Air Service Agreement between Nepal and Malaysia allows Malaysian airlines to operate up to 21 flights a week.
Nepal and Malaysia's bilateral relationship dates back to the 19th century. Nepalis used to go Malay (Malaysia) for jobs and the trend still continues. About 500,000 Nepalis are believed to be presently working in Malaysia and the outflow is around 100,000 per year.
Likewise, Malaysian and Nepali travel and tour agents and officials will discuss on potential opportunities of cooperation between the two countries on Sunday.


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