KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 : Kazakhstan is seeking to woo Malaysians with its leisure tourism products such as the ski experience and lure more bilateral exchanges in the tourism field through three Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with local agencies.
Deputy Chairman of Kazakh Tourism National Company JSC, Kairat Sadvakassov, said the MoUs with Langkawi Development Authority (LADA), Malaysia Tourism Excellence (MaTEx) and Malaysian Ski Association – signed during the recent 48th Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents’ (MATTA) Fair – would enable more cooperations to be established, including in the halal tourism and ecotourism sectors.
“Kazakhstan is trying to position itself in the Malaysian market with its rich tourism resources, thus the MoUs would help both sides to partner in terms of cross-training, gaining sharing experiences on investments, and many others. With LADA, for example, we are very interested to learn more from Langkawi.
“Next step would be for us to bring the Malaysian agencies to Kazakhstan, probably around this year or next year, on how we operate our ski experience in the wintertime at our biggest and most modern ski resort of Central Asia in Almaty, as we can ski up to May due to the altitude, thus it would be good to start positioning (also) this tourism product to the Malaysians,” said Sadvakassov to Bernama International News Service during the MATTA Fair at Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) recently (Sept 6-8).
Elaborating, he said Kazakhstan would leverage on its maiden participation in the biannual travel fair to increase the number of inbound tourists from Malaysia and the Southeast Asian region.
“We see growing interest in tourism coming from Malaysia in winter tourism, ecotourism, culture-heritage and we’ll see how it goes.
“From what I see here (at the Matta Fair), it is a very vibrant trade show where people are doing business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-customers (B2C)(transactions), where customers who came really want to do transactions right away.
“Looking at this, it is a very interesting concept…we have never been to such concept before. We will see how it goes this year and we are committed to keep coming next year,” he said.
According to Sadvakassov, Kazakhstan attracted 8.7 million inbound tourists in 2018, of which 14,264 were from Southeast Asia. Malaysian tourists accounted for 7,574 of the Southeast Asian tourists last year, a 44 per cent growth compared to 2017.
He added that Kazakhstan’s national carrier, Air Astana, has a direct flight from Kuala Lumpur to Almaty, and Malaysian tourists can travel to the country visa-free.