Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, July 28, 2023 – At a press event hosted at the Google Malaysia office, Google Cloud highlighted insights and business opportunities that organizations can capitalize on to further advance Malaysia’s travel recovery, as the country approaches a full year since COVID-19 entry restrictions—such as testing and quarantine requirements—were lifted for foreign arrivals. Google Cloud also announced strategic collaborations with Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) and Asia Mobiliti, which are adopting Google Cloud’s open data cloud to deliver sustainable, digital-first travel experiences.
Outsized Opportunity for Adjacent Industries to Influence Tourism Growth
With 7 in 10 urban digital consumers in Malaysia already using digital travel services and this category expected to grow 56% year-on-year and contribute US$8 billion to Malaysia’s digital economy by 2025, travel ecosystem players cannot afford to overlook the importance of offering digital services that are always-on, simple, personalized, and secure.
Google search trends for the period of July 16, 2022 to July 15, 2023 suggest that adjacent industries can seize opportunities presented by Malaysia’s tourism rebound. In the past year, search queries related to “travel credit card” and “travel insurance” in Malaysia have grown by over 750% and over 250%, respectively1. Financial institutions must therefore find ways to deliver tailored offerings to travelers who are seeking exclusive rewards for spending on tourism-related goods and services, or seeking peace of mind from unexpected changes. With search queries related to “medical tourism” in Malaysia growing by over 60% during the same period of time2, there is an opportunity for healthcare providers to better engage individuals who are looking to visit Malaysia for specialized medical treatment.
Additionally, search queries related to “digital nomad visas” in Malaysia have grown by over 350% during the same period of time3. Companies in industries like real estate and hospitality, food and grocery, financial services, and healthcare should pursue a deeper understanding of this emerging category of consumers and consider designing products and services that cater to their specific needs. This could include offering coworking spaces, short-term housing options, on-demand delivery, cross-border health insurance, and multi-currency savings accounts.
Megawaty Khie, Regional Director, Indonesia and Malaysia, Google Cloud, said: “When we consider tourism’s economic impact, there’s often a focus on the contribution from core areas like aviation and accommodation – and rightfully so. But our analysis also highlights tourism’s impact on other sectors, from financial services to healthcare, to retail and transportation. We’re committed to empowering organizations across industries with intelligent, data-driven capabilities to make smarter business decisions and be part of an integrated ecosystem that delivers world-class visitor experiences. Our collaborations with Malaysia Airports and Asia Mobiliti, supported by our partners CloudMile and PointStar, will enhance their ability to serve travelers with personalized, digital-first offerings powered by our secure and scalable open data cloud. This also builds on our existing work with airasia Super App to help micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) grow their revenue streams.”
Staying Ahead of Resurgent Air Travel Demand
In Malaysia, inbound international air travel demand—flights by non-residents to a country—has experienced a massive upturn based on Google search volumes for the period of August 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023. On August 1, 2022 – the day Malaysia lifted its remaining COVID-19 restrictions – inbound demand saw a year-on-year increase of 1,180%. This resurgence has continued through to the first half of 2023. Between August 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023, inbound demand saw an overall year-on-year increase of more than 188%.
Malaysia’s outbound international air travel demand—flights by its residents to other countries—followed a similar upward trend4. On August 1, 2022, outbound demand saw a year-on-year increase of 452%. This resurgence has continued through to the first half of 2023. Between August 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023, outbound demand saw an overall year-on-year increase of more than 149%.
Finally, Malaysia’s domestic air travel demand—flights by residents and non-residents within a country—also experienced a similar surge5. On August 1, 2022, domestic demand saw a year-on-year increase of 795%. This resurgence similarly continued through to the first half of 2023. Between August 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023, domestic demand saw an overall year-on-year increase of more than 46%.
To stay ahead of spikes in passenger traffic in and out of its five international airports and 17 domestic airports in Malaysia, Malaysia Airports—with support from CloudMile—has migrated its digital real estate to Google Cloud’s open, scalable, secure, and energy-efficient infrastructure.
As a result, Malaysia Airports is starting to benefit from Google Cloud’s dynamic autoscaling capabilities, which enable the IT systems/dashboards to handle up to 10 times their normal workloads with a smooth user experience, before automatically scaling down to reduce costs when additional computing resources are no longer needed. By using Google Cloud’s database management services to break down internal data silos, Malaysia Airports is enhancing its ability to push real-time airport and flight information to millions of passengers, thereby allowing them to enjoy smoother experiences from check-in to immigration to boarding to baggage collection.
Vijaykumar Dayinde, Chief Information Officer, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad, said: “As our industry recuperates from the effects of the past few years, it’s critical that we find the ability to both optimize costs and ramp up our operations. Our choice of CloudMile as our longstanding partner and Google Cloud as our primary cloud provider gives us the right combination of automated solutions and deep innovation expertise to deliver high-quality and safe digital-first passenger experiences at scale. Google Cloud’s open data cloud will provide a strong yet flexible foundation for Malaysia Airports to fulfill our vision of becoming a global airport group that champions connectivity and sustainability, and serve as the gateway for tourists to discover and enjoy all that Malaysia has to offer.”
Lester Leong, Country Manager, Malaysia, CloudMile, said: “As the industry recovers, airports must address challenges like optimizing the passenger experience and minimizing disruptions. An airport’s backend IT systems—largely invisible but vital to its success—must also remain cohesive and secure. As a leading cloud and AI technology solutions consultancy in Asia, CloudMile is committed to partnering with Google Cloud to deliver trusted solutions that boost tourism and benefit local communities. Google Cloud’s open-source and secure-by-design principles will allow us to seamlessly integrate technologies like biometric recognition and a travel retail e-commerce platform on behalf of Malaysia Airports, while encrypting data flows across systems to ensure user privacy and data security.”
Sustainable Transportation and Sustainable Tourism are Deeply Intertwined
There is a growing consciousness of tourism’s environmental impact, with sustainability emerging as a key consideration when people design their travel itineraries. For the period of July 16, 2022 to July 15, 2023, search queries related to “ecotourism” and “sustainable transport” in Malaysia have increased by more than 700% and more than 160%, respectively6. In fact, close to 4 in 10 digital consumers in Malaysia have declared their willingness to pay more for a sustainable product or service.
To enable seamless and more sustainable multimodal transport experiences for tourists in Malaysia, Asia Mobiliti, a fast-growing mobility technology startup, is building and running its mobility-as-a-service platform for businesses and consumers entirely on Google Cloud’s open, scalable, secure, and energy-efficient infrastructure.
With support from PointStar, Asia Mobiliti has also deployed Google Cloud’s advanced analytics and business intelligence tools to give its B2B customers access to real-time insights that help them better respond to commuters’ needs. By leveraging Asia Mobiliti’s ability to ingest and analyze data across different modes of transport and accurately forecast demand using its proprietary machine learning (ML) algorithms, an airport operator or a public transport operator could, for instance, offer demand-responsive transit services (DRT) to malls or hotels in the city. DRT services mean a passenger vehicle, such as a bus or van, is dispatched in response to demand, optimizing ridership and cost of trip, and ensuring travel resiliency and reliability with intelligent routing for the quickest and most fuel-efficient routes.