Malaysia enjoyed a 45% jump in arrivals from Pakistan in the January-November period of 2019.
KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia hope to attract more MICE visitors and tourist families from Pakistan after seeing a whooping 45% jump in the January-November period of 2019, said the country's deputy tourism minister.
More than 97,000 Pakistanis visited Malaysia in the first 11 months of 2019, according to figures from Tourism Malaysia.
The increase, compared with the same period of 2018, was the sharpest from any country in South Asia - despite a shortage of direct flights between Malaysia and Pakistan, Malaysia's Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik told Bernama.
"We need better air connectivity. But it's a commercial decision for the airlines to make," Muhammad Bakhtiar added.
In other South Asian markets, Bangladeshi visitors between January and November grew to about 164,000, representing an increase of 18%. Indian tourist arrivals rose 25% to 686,000 during the same period.
"We have to look at ways to capitalise on the growth trends in South Asian arrivals. We need to tap more tourists from Bangladesh and Pakistan," said Deputy Minister Bakhtiar.
"India is our sixth biggest source of tourists and has become a mature market. Indian tourists now look beyond their traditional favourites of Kuala Lumpur and Genting."
Malaysia's target is to attract at least a million Indian tourists per year, he added.
Ninety per cent of Malaysia's international tourists are from Asia, with the top sources being Singapore, Indonesia, China, Thailand and Brunei.
The Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign will see more promotion efforts in countries such as China, India, South Korea, Britain, Japan, France, Germany and Australia, the deputy minister said.