TEHRAN (Iran News) – Malaysia has plans to revive its tourism industry which has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the country has measures to attract more tourists from the Middle East and especially from Iran when the coronavirus is contained in the country.
The first secretary and head of chancery of Malaysia Embassy in Tehran H.E. Mohd Nizam bin Halim and Marketing Manager of Tourism Malaysia in Iran Mr. Farhad Jafari at a press conference elaborated Malaysia’s plans for boosting their tourism industry in the post-Covid era.
In response to a question on Malaysia’s plans regarding attracting tourism in the post-Covid era in the Middle East and especially in Iran, Mr. Nizam bin Halim said Tourism Malaysia has conducted consistent studies and research to better formulate an equipped tourism plan for the Middle East market. He added that the country is currently focused on the domestic tourism until the country gets rid of the virus and lifting the lockdown.
He went on to say that Tourism Malaysia has also launched the campaign #WeMissYou, especially for the Middle East region, to emphasize the memories it has for the travelers wandering around the magnificent attractions that Malaysia offers.
He noted that in December 2020, the Malaysian Prime Minister launched the National Tourism Policy 2020-2030 that would be focused on strengthening competitiveness, encouraging sustainable and inclusive tourism, as well as planning for future disasters.
Bin Halim reiterated that Malaysia will also exhibit daily cultural shows and craft demonstrations at the Malaysian Pavilion’s amphitheater during EXPO 2020 Dubai. He added that currently Malaysia is already open for investors and business travelers and the short term business travel is exempted from the mandatory quarantine otherwise the visitors have to stay for two weeks at a certain hotel as mandatory quarantine.
He noted that Iran and Malaysia have good cooperation and it is expected after the virus is contained, the tourist exchange between the two states would pick up. Regarding to Iranian market, he said Malaysia plans to hold recovery seminars in all over Iran as business-to-business seminars between Malaysia whole sellers and affiliated agencies and also business-to-customer seminars for the most potential customers of Malaysia destinations as soon as the country receives the indication of borders opening. He also stated Tourism Malaysia will do joint promotion with airlines such as joint familiarization trip to Malaysia for the media and travel agencies to visit Malaysia.
Mr. Bin Halim admitted that Malaysia is looking at the year 2025 for travel return to normal and have earmarked the Middle East as one of its important market.
On how much damage Malaysia’s tourism industry has suffered due to the pandemic, he said international tourist arrivals to Malaysia plunged 83.4% in 2020 to record a total of 4.332m arrivals as compared to 26.1m recorded in 2019. He reiterated that the decline in the international travel to Malaysia shows an estimated 73.5b ringgits or 85.3% decline in tourism revenue from 81.14b in 2019 to 12.69b in 2020.
On Iran-Malaysia trade volume, he said the trade volume between the two countries has been affected by the U.S. unilateral sanctions and stood at $0.37b in 2020. Bin Halim said that palm oil as well as agro products and machinery and parts are Malaysia’s major exports to Iran an in return it imports agro and oil products from Iran.
He emphasized that Malaysia did not recognize the U.S. unilateral sanctions against Iran but the companies are afraid of doing business with Iran due to the sanctions. He expressed hope that after the U.S. sanctions is lifted, the trade between the two states would pick up, reiterating that Iran is Malaysia’s important trade partner in the West Asia.
Bin Halim said Malaysia is exploring ways forward in fostering more strategic partnership in various fields such as tourism, health, education and halal industries with Iran. He reiterated that Malaysia is also keen to increase the export of palm oil and palm products to all countries, including Iran. He emphasized that Malaysia produces its palm oil based on the international standards without using chemicals and it is not a dangerous to the health because former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad consumes palm oil and he has no problem with Iran. He added that Malaysia is after finding a mechanism for exporting its palm oil to Iran.
Meanwhile Mr. Jafari, for his part, briefed the reporters participating in the press conference of the plans of Tourism Malaysia in the post-Covid era.