Tourism Malaysia woos Indian tourists with Kabali package


CHENNAI: Keen to see for yourself the locations where the blockbuster Indian movie ‘Kabali’ was shot in Malaysia?

The good news is Tourism Malaysia, together with AirTravel Enterprises India Limited (ATE), is introducing the Malaysia Kabali-package deal as one of its latest promotional strategies to draw Indian travellers to Malaysia.

Kollywood superstar Rajinikanth’s 159th movie is a big hit and has indirectly promoted Malaysian locations in India and to his legions of fans across the world.

In this regard, Tourism Malaysia’s South India/Sri Lanka Director Noor Azman Samsudin said the four-day/three-night tour package starting at INR24,900 rupees (RM1,500) per person (excluding airfare), was aimed at attracting one million tourists from the Indian sub-continent to Malaysia this year.

“Tourism Malaysia and ATE want Indian travellers to come and experience personally the prominent places the down-to-earth star chose for his movie shooting, instead of just watching the places on the screen.

“Therefore, the package was specially designed and launched for Rajinikanth’s fans to go and visit the places of Kabali’s shooting and gain rare opportunity like how Rajinikanth felt about Malaysia’s uniqueness,” he told Bernama here.

Tapping the traveller’s market through the movie

Noor Azman was speaking at the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents’ (MATTA) inaugural roadshow in India to tap a larger share of the Indian outbound travel market.

The six-day Bangalore and Chennai marketing and promotion tour that ended on Aug 13, is aimed at India’s outbound travel which is growing 15 to 20 per cent annually and is estimated to rise to around 50 million tourists by 2020.

In the film, superstar Rajinikanth, whose real name is Shivaji Rao, played the role of an ageing underworld don in Malaysia named Kabaliswaran, lending his name to the title of the movie.

The film directed by Pa Ranjith was filmed at several locations in Malaysia, including Kuala Lumpur and Carey Island. Several local actors like Rosyam Nor, Norman Hakim, Zack Taipan, as well as Winston Chao of Taiwan, also appeared in the movie.

According to Noor Azman, the Malaysia-Kabali package offered a full-day tour to the most iconic and popular tourist attractions related to the film, namely the Petronas Twin Towers, Batu Caves, KLCC, Grand Salon Lobby Lounge of the Palace of the Golden Horses, the Selangor Royal Club, Malacca and Carey Island.

India an important travel market

In addition, India has always been an important market for Malaysia and currently ranks sixth among countries in terms of total tourist arrivals in the country.

Together with all-year round promotion and Kabali packages, Noor Azman said Malaysia expected to see a rise in the number of Indian tourists arrivals this year, following a drop of 4.7 per cent (168,922) in the first quarter of this year.

Last year, 177,253 Indian tourists came to Malaysia in the first quarter, with the total number of tourists for 2015 being 722,141.

Meanwhile, ATE vice-president (Leisure) J Manoj Dass said after Rajinikanth, another Kollywood heartthrob, Suriya Sivakumar, had chosen Malaysia as his preferred destination to shoot the third sequel in the franchise of Singham.

Speaking to Bernama recently, he said Suriya and his production team of 40 people would be shooting some action and song sequences of the highly anticipated Singham 3 at the end of August with Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur as the backdrop.

Malaysia the destination for film tourism

“Malaysia has always been the best destination for film tourism based on its fully-integrated production facilities, an easy-going and friendly people and, most importantly, sharing cultural similarities with other nations and the locations here provide cost savings of 30-40 per cent,” he said.

With 21 years’ of experience as film location manager, Manoj, who was involved in the production of both Singham 1 and 2, said both ATE and Tourism Malaysia were in the midst of preparing a Suriya package for his ardent fans to come and visit Malaysia.

“Just like Singham 2’s climax sequence shot in Malaysia, Singham 3 will also showcase some important scenes at the Petronas Twin Towers, KL Tower and several high-rise buildings,” he said.

Manoj added that Indian film-makers were also showing interest in Legoland Malaysia Resort, situated in Nusajaya, Johor, for a colourful backdrop setting for their films.

Besides Kabali and Singham 3, famous South Indian actor Vikram’s film, Iru Mugan, completed shooting in Malaysia early this year. Several popular Bollywood movies were also shot in Malaysia such as Don and Don 2, Fanna, Dil Maange More, Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin, Humraaz and Yaadein.

A significant portion of Shah Rukh Khan’s Don was filmed in Malaysia, including the Malacca prison, Petronas Twin Towers and the sky bridge in Langkawi.