A total of 134,663 Bangladeshis travelled to Malaysia in 2013, up 55.7 per cent from 86,465 in 2012, Amran, Director, Tourism Malaysia, said while on a brief visit to Dhaka recently. Mizan Rodzi, Deputy Director, Tourism Malaysia accompanied him during the visit.
Amran said, tourist numbers from Bangladesh rose because of increase in accessibility. Besides, Malaysia Airlines, Malindo and Bangladeshi airlines have come in, increasing capacity. Many Bangladeshis also go to Malaysia via Singapore.
He said, another plus point is that food and culture of Bangla-desh and Malay-sia are similar. They do not need to worry about food. They can pray too in any part of the country.
Still another aspect is confidence. Bangladeshis feel confident once they are there. Many drive on their own as the roads in Malaysia are good. The roads are so good that you can have breakfast in Singapore, lunch in a city of Malaysia and dinner in Thailand, the Tourism Malaysia Director said.
Top hospitality properties in Kuala Lumpur and other Malaysian cities are better and comparatively cheaper than hotels in other countries of the region, he said.
Amran said, Bangladeshis are one of the highest spenders in Malaysia. They love to experience shopping in Malaysia and spend a lot.
“Our shopping malls are places where the whole family can have fun. Even Malaysian families often come to the shopping malls with families to enjoy themselves. There are excellent restaurants. Parking is also no problem,” he said.
Bangladeshis stay is hotels, serviced apartments and rent cars for the whole period of their stay, he added mentioning that average car rental is MR400 to MR500 a day. They are high value tourists from Bangladesh.
Amran said Kuala Lumpur, Genting, Penang, Langkawi, Legoland have already become popular among Bangladeshis. So Tourism Malaysia will be promoting less visited places of Malaysia like Kuantan, which is only four hours drive from Kuala Lumpur, as well as other destinations.
Asked whether there was any impact of Malaysia Airlines recent disasters, Amran said there has been no impact on traffic from Bangladesh.” It was pure accident. Although it was sad, people here understand. We are thankful to the Bangladeshis for understanding the situation.”
Besides attending tourism fairs, Tourism Malaysia aims to carry out consistent promotions in Bangladesh this year. “We hope to do something with them. We’ll to look how to stretch our money, staying within our budget,” he said.
Amran said, 2015 will be very hectic for us. 2015 is Malaysia Year of Festivals. There will be around 50 mega events including Florial Putrajaya floral exhibition spread over about 20 Malaysians acres from May 30 to June 7. “At Florial there will be a place where you can experience snow,” he said.
Petronas For-mula 1 Malay-sian Grand Prix will be held from March 27 to 29. Magic of the Night will be held from May 28 to 31. Besides many surprising things for visitors, the ships at the lake at Putrajaya will be lit at night.
Shoe Festival will be from April 3 to 5 while Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival, liked by Bangladeshis, will be held in November.
Amran invited Bangladeshis to enjoy the theatre performance called “Mud” which traces how of Kuala Lumpur came to be – from a village into a capital city, tells the history of Malaysia, how people grew together and became a nation.
It is a must see theatre. We hope Bangladeshis will like it. It has become very popular, he said, adding Kuala Lumpur city was gutted by fire twice and had to be rebuilt.
He said Malaysia received 22.86 million tourists from all over the world from January to October 2014. Singapore led the flow_ Singaporeans visit Malaysia four to five times a year_ followed by Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei and China. Traffic from China picked up after a drop, he said, adding, 500,000 Indians visit Malaysia on an average.