Malaysia boasts one of Southeast Asia's most vibrant economies.
With a population of over 29 million, its multi-ethnic,
multi-religious society encompasses a majority Muslim population
and an economically powerful Chinese community.
Just under half of Malaysian travellers are free independent
travellers (FIT). Malaysians enjoy the self-drive opportunities
offered by New Zealand as a holiday destination. Around half
of Malaysian visitors (50.3 per cent) travel outside the main
regions. With fewer seats for group travel becoming available from
Malaysia, FIT travel is becoming more popular.
Malaysia is also a strong market for incentive travel, with
groups travelling in New Zealand's off-peak and shoulder
Traditional peak travel seasons are mid November to December,
and the last week of May until the first week of June. A shorter
peak period also exists around the Chinese New Year period, either
in January or February, and around Hari Raya and Deepavali in
October and early November.
Considerable growth in visitors between 2010 and 2012 was
driven by Air Asia X direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to
Christchurch. However, these services ceased in May 2012,
affecting market performance as a result. New Zealand
recorded almost 26,000 visitor arrivals Malaysia YE August 2013 -
a 24.6 per cent decrease from 2012.
There is a growing trend among Malaysians towards booking travel
online, especially airfares, and comparing land costs. Travel
agents, however, remain the primary mode of booking for travel
packages, while travel fairs are popular research opportunities for
Tourism New Zealand manages trade development activities in
Malaysia from its Singapore office.