One-way tourist traffic

Calcutta: Malaysia is a favourite holiday destination among Calcuttans but not many tourists from that country travel to the city, a Malaysia tourism official said on Wednesday.

The tourism departments of Indian states, including Bengal, hardly ever promote their destinations in Malaysia, said Sulaiman Suip, director (north and east) of the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board.

In 2017, 5,52,000 tourists from India had gone to Malaysia but only 3,00,000 Malaysians had come to India, he said. Malaysia expects a 20-30 per cent growth in the number of tourists from India this year.

The tourism promotion board organised a road show at a city hotel on Wednesday.

“Only states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Rajasthan promote their tourism in Malaysia. Others, including Bengal, don’t,” Suip said. He said most tourists coming to India from Malaysia head south.

“If there is no reverse traffic, then flights will not be viable. It cannot be a one-way traffic,” said Ganneesh Ramaa of the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents.

Ramaa said packages worth more than $80 million were sold for various destinations across the world at the recently concluded tourism fair in Malaysia.

India did not participate in the fair.

Malaysia is all set to woo more tourists with new destinations, including Desaru coast in southern Malaysia, a 45-minute drive from Singapore’s Changi airport. The destination comprises a theme park, an integrated resort and a golf course.

Lego Land in Johor Baru and a few places in Ipoh and Melaka are also expected to draw tourists, Suip said.

Officials said at least two cruise companies would launch luxury cruises from Kuala Lumpur to attract tourists.