Malaysia boasts one of Southeast Asia's most vibrant economies. With a population of over 30 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 seasons.
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.
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 Malaysian travellers.
Malaysia Airlines operates non-stop return services between Auckland and Kuala Lumpur daily over the summer peak period, and six days a week during the rest of the year. The launch of Air Asia’s Kuala Lumpur to Auckland route (via Gold Coast) in March 2016 has created additional, good value capacity and has contributed to strong arrivals growth.
Tourism New Zealand manages trade development and public relations activities in Malaysia from its Singapore office.