SEPANG: The number of tourist arrivals from New Zealand (NZ) to Malaysia is expected to increase with the increase in flights between Kuala Lumpur and New Zealand, said Tourism Malaysia.

Batik Air now offers flights six times a week connecting Kuala Lumpur to Auckland, New Zealand via Perth, Australia which started operating yesterday (Aug 24).

Currently, Malaysia Airlines operates direct flights to New Zealand eight times a week.

“This allows Malaysia to advance its tourism sector as we now have Batik Air as the second carrier after Malaysia Airlines that flies to New Zealand,“ said Iskandar Mirza Mohd Yusof, Tourism Malaysia’s senior director of international promotion division for America/Europe/Oceania.

Speaking to reporters after welcoming the arrival of Batik Air's inaugural flight from Auckland via Perth at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here today, he said Malaysia had received 17,972 tourists from New Zealand from January to June, almost reaching the target of 20,000 tourists from there for 2023. Last year, Malaysia received 18,000 tourists from New Zealand.

Iskandar Mirza said Tourism Malaysia, in an effort to promote the country's tourism products, will coordinate a sales mission programme to four cities, namely Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide in Australia starting this Monday (Aug 28).

The week-long programme will be led by Tourism Malaysia deputy director-general (promotion) Datuk Musa Yusof and will be accompanied by the country's tourism industry players including the Sabah government, Labuan Corporation and Putrajaya Corporation.

The sales mission is Tourism Malaysia's annual programme to intensify the promotion of international tourism by matching Malaysian tourism industry players and their counterparts in the countries visited in business-to-business (B2B) sessions.

“The B2B sessions provide an opportunity for our industry players to introduce the country’s tourism products while at the same time increasing the confidence of foreign tourists to visit Malaysia,“ he said.

Group strategy director of Batik Air and Lion Group Datuk Chandran Rama Muthy said in a statement that the Kuala Lumpur-Auckland route highlights Batik Air's strong commitment to providing convenient travel options.

He said it not only extends to Malaysians seeking to discover vibrant cities like Auckland but also to New Zealanders, offering them multiple services to explore beautiful Malaysian destinations such as Penang, Langkawi, Kuching, and Kota Kinabalu.

“We hope that tourists from New Zealand will take advantage of our reasonable rates and dedicated services to explore Malaysia and beyond, by connecting to one of the other intriguing locations we fly to,“ he said. -Bernama