FIVE of the biggest travel agents in Bahrain along with Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board have come together to revive the group tours of the 80’s.
The Big 5 as this consortium of Al Fanar Travel , Sunshine Tours, Galaxy Travel, House of Travel and Al Gosaibi Travel call themselves have chosen Malaysia as this summer’s ideal travel destination. “Statistically, Malaysia is the top destination for Arab travellers, which is the reason why we chose it,”says Hakim Al Aradi of Galaxy travel. The 13-day package which includes a return ticket, choice of stay at either a four-star or a five-star hotel, breakfast and dinner has an itinerary tailor made to suit the Arab traveller.“ The basic fare starts at BD565 per adult at triple sharing at a four-star hotel and goes up to BD850 per adult for a single room at a five star.
Kids can travel with or without parents, for kids with parents the fare is BD390 and without parents is BD330,” says Jehad Amin, managing director, House of Travel. The sightseeing includes popular destinations like Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Genting highlands and special treats like a special Malaysian dinner with cultural show, buffet dinner at KL Tower revolving restaurant, full day visit to Sunway Lagoon wet and dry park, A’Famosa with entrance to the Animal Park, City Tour of Kuala Lumpur, Penang Hill and Temple tour. The tourists are given a day in each place to shop independently.
The mass bookings have been done for three departure dates – July 17, July 28 and August 15. Each trip can accommodate up to 80 passengers, the booking for which have already started. “To avoid the confusion that comes with travelling without a proper guide or a guide who doesn’t know the culture of the travellers , the Big 5 have chosen a Bahraini guide who is familiar with the Arab way of life and knowledgeable about Malaysia as well. They will also provide us feedback on how to improve the tours,” says Abraham John, general manager, Sunshine Tours.
“During the peak season families run from agent to agent to find the best deals on hotels and airlines. To make life simpler for them the Big 5 got together. We were only able to pull off this deal with massive discounts with – Gulf Air and hotels because of the sheer numbers involved. If we had tried to do it individually as travel agents we would not have been able to offer this bargain to the customer. Also the travel industry, travel agents and the tour operators hurt themselves when they compete against each other, which is another reason we joined hands. Divided we fall, united we stand. So you can avail this package from your favourite travel operator not just the Big 5,” says Zulfikar Ali, general manager, Al Fanar Travel making a strong point.
Syed Muhadzir Jamallulil, director (UAE and Gulf), Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board who is in Bahrain especially for the launch of this special deal says, “Malaysia attracts a lot of tourists from the Gulf region which is why the government of Malaysia is paying a lot of importance to their comforts and needs. When you come to Malaysia we want you to feel at home, there is family check-in counters at the airport and we have about 30 Arabic restaurants in Kuala Lumpur … with sheesha”, he adds.