The Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi, as well as representatives from Tourism Malaysia, personally welcomed passengers aboard the inaugural Air Arabia flight upon arrival at Kuala Lumpur International Airport from Sharjah yesterday.

The direct flight to Kuala Lumpur was a result of the Minister’s official visit to Dubai during the Arabian Travel Mart held in April this year, whereby a joint tactical campaign agreement was signed between Tourism Malaysia, Malaysia Airports and Air Arabia.

This marks a very important initiative to boost travel and tourism between Malaysia and West Asia countries as Air Arabia, the Middle East and North Africa’s first and largest low-cost carrier will help enhance more tourism traffic from Sharjah, as well as from Iraq, Egypt and other Gulf Cooperation Council markets.

The direct flight, which started from July 1, operates with the brand new Airbus A321 Long Range aircraft. The seven-hour flight flies daily with a capacity of 215 passengers on each flight.

Tourism Malaysia seeks to attract more West Asian tourists to its shores to achieve its tourism target for 2019. The tourist arrivals from West Asia have rebounded to Malaysia by 25.3 percent in 2018 from 251,937 to 315,937 led by the growth of Oman (+36.9 percent), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (11.6 percent) and United Arab Emirates (9.7 percent). Last year, Malaysia recorded RM3.1 billion in tourist receipts from West Asia, a growth of 32.9 percent as compared to the previous year. As of March 2019, tourist arrivals from West Asia countries to Malaysia registered a total of 65,202.

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