Whether they are rebooking cancelled trips from earlier, fulfilling
their bucket lists, or feeding their pent-up travel desire after almost
two years of closed borders, Malaysians are eagerly booking their next
Travel agents say they have seen dramatic spikes in demand in the
past few months as more countries begin to lift travel pandemic bans.
“The weakened ringgit does not seem to affect their travels because
savings from two years of lockdown have allowed them to be a bit more
luxuriant with their overseas trips,” says Nursyuhada Abd Aziz of Pens
Leisure and Services.
As borders reopen, agents note that Covid-19 concerns still dictate travel patterns.
“The pandemic has had a profound effect on how Malaysians travel,”
says Ami Nur Shafiq, outbound manager of Via Vacation and Travel. “The
destinations that are most in demand are those countries that are
easiest to visit that drop entry restrictions altogether, including no
for Ami’s company are up by 80% so far this year, albeit from a low
baseline, with Turkey and the Balkans heading the list of popular
destinations with Malaysians.
Malaysian tastes and preferences have also changed post-pandemic.
“Shopping used to be the singular attraction, but we’ve seen more
Malaysians opting for nature and cultural sightseeing in Turkey and the
Another post-pandemic plus point: Travel companies are hearing from travellers who have never booked through an agent before.
With multi-country itineraries such as the Balkans, agents provide
ease of travel and expertise as they navigate the region’s varied
cultural mix. In addition, travel companies also provide peace of mind.
Nursyuhada Abd Aziz has observed that more travellers are booking trips through agents.
“People do not want the headache associated with uncertainty travelling in these times,” says Nursyuhada.
As travel bounces back, the industry remains challenged with limited
flights and worker shortages that spell delay for restaurant
reservations or even daily housekeeping that may affect vacations.
Muhammad Fuad Abdul Rahman's client favour Bali for beach vacations.
Apart from nature and cultural sightseeing, consumers are also
snapping up beach vacations, as evidenced by the popularity of Bali and
the Maldives tours at Aifar Tours & Vacations. Managing Director
Muhammad Fuad Abdul Rahman says Bali remains a firm favourite as a quick
getaway among his clients due to the short flight time.
The Maldives, which was among the first few countries to open borders
to international tourists without quarantine requirements, appeals to
travellers seeking normalcy with its no-mask mandate.
such as the Maldives are also benefiting from a more diversified
clientele. Where the Maldives were once popular with honeymooners or
couples, “what we’ve seen now is families vacationing in the Maldives
together,” comments Nursyuhada.