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Sulaiman Suip, Director Thailand and Myanmar for Tourism Malaysia

“Thailand outbound market remains resilient to Malaysia despite the difficult political situation early this year”.

TravelDailyNews: Did Malaysia experienced a drop in Thai travellers due to Thailand political turbulences?
Sulaiman Suip: So far, Malaysia did not experience any drop from Thailand in the first half of the year despite the difficult political situation. The Thai outbound market continued to grow by 20% during that period. Thailand belongs to our top 5 markets.
TDN: What are the reasons to Thailand outbound market resilience?
S.Suip: We have of course the effect of our Visit Malaysia Year 2014 which drags the travellers’ attention as we launched many promotions. We focus mostly our promotion at selling Malaysia as a family destination in Thailand. Family attractions but also shopping as well as nature-related activities are popular among Thai visitors. The most popular destinations are Genting Highland, Melaka and increasingly Johor Bahru since the opening of Legoland Park, a unique attraction in Asia. We see also interest rising for Penang due to the increasing popularity of Baba Nonya culture. Kuala Lumpur remains essentially a shopping destination due to lower prices, especially on imported goods. 
TDN: Are they any new products or destinations for Thai travellers?
S.Suip: I mentioned the increasing popularity of Johor Bahru which is now turning into a new theme parks and entertainment destination. We are also expecting a lot from the opening of a new Nickelodeon theme park at Sunway Lagoon, which should meet a huge success with Thai travellers. Genting Highland will also get a new theme park with the construction of Southeast Asia’s first 20th Century Fox Park. It is due to open by 2016. 
TDN: Are the two Malaysia Airlines two tragedies dented confidence for Malaysia national carrier in Thailand?
S.Suip: Of course, Malaysia Airlines has been suffering from the two terrible accidents. I believe however that the airline will recover. I would love to see some special promotions from MAS to launch back its activity. Such as fly to Bangkok with the Airbus A380. The prestigious aircraft would certainly bring interest and we could work out with MAS to offer a special package to Kuala Lumpur.
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Luc Citrinot a French national is a freelance journalist and consultant in tourism and air transport with over 20 years experience. Based in Paris and Bangkok, he works for various travel and air transport trade publications in Europe and Asia.