Tourism Malaysia Promotion Board is now tapping the senior citizens or “third golden age” market in Singapore as part of efforts to lure more of the republic’s aging population to visit Malaysia.
Tourism Malaysia Director in Singapore Zalizam Zakaria said retirees accounted for between 15 and 18 per cent of Singapore’s population of five million people.
“To attract them, we participated in the just-concluded annual “Active Ageing Carnival and 50plus Expo 2011″ at the Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre,” he told Bernama.
The annual event showcased various products and services tailored-made for senior citizens and attracted thousands of people, particularly, senior citizens.
Zalizam said Tourism Malaysia’s second outing to the exhibition was fully supported by the Singapore government.
“We participated last year for the first time and knowing that we can get good results, we came back again this year,” he said, adding that AirAsia and Singapore-based Facsinating Holidays, was also roped in to actively promote Malaysia among Singaporean retirees.
“We want to concentrate on this category because retirees have all the means to spend on vacations.
“They have all the free time as they don’t have to wait for school holidays or take leave to travel.
“Our survey revealed that they like to travel. Instead of remaining in Singapore, the retirees want to get out sometimes,” Zalizam said, adding that they preferred to visit destinations that took two to three hours of travelling time.
He said Malaysia was in a strategic position to capture this market because of its close proximity to the island.
“Within an hour or 50 minutes of travel time and they are already in Malaysia. In fact within two hours they will be as far as Sabah or Langkawi.
“So, Malaysia is the perfect destination for senior citizens from Singapore,” he said, adding that the 3GA category usually spent part of their savings on travel, food or medical treatment.
He said as people grew older, they tend to frequent hospitals.
Zalizam also said most Singaporean senior citizens have Medisave insurance policies, which provided coverage anywhere in the world including 12 hospitals in Malaysia.
“They can seek medical treatment through the insurance and this will further encourage them to come over to Malaysia,” he pointed out, adding that medical treatment was much cheaper in Malaysia.