Envoy calls on local airlines to establish direct KL-Rome flights to boost tourism

By Voon Miaw Ping
A park close to the National Theatre in the northern Italian city of Milan. Pix by Shanti Ayadurai/BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 (NNN-BERNAMA) – Italian Ambassador to Malaysia, Cristiano Maggipinto is proposing to local airlines to consider establishing direct flights between Rome and Kuala Lumpur to boost tourism between Italy and Malaysia.

Malaysia has all the potentials, and fit the bill of Italian holiday makers, the envoy said.

Maggipinto said moving towards the possibility of the direct air connection, he had also met with Malaysia’s low-cost carrier Air Asia in April to discuss the proposal.

He said one of the obstacles for reduced tourism activities between the two countries has been the absence of direct connectivity between Malaysia and Italy.

“So we asked Air Asia to consider this possibility to open direct connection since they also fly to other intercontinental destinations.

“Response from the airline had been encouraging but of course there are many economic decisions that they need to consider,” he told Bernama International News Service in an interview here recently.

Currently there is no direct flight service between Malaysia and Italy after Malaysia Airlines ceased it service in the sector in 2012, while no Italian airline is servicing this route.

Maggipinto also urged the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry to intensify promotional campaigns in Italy to attract more Italian tourists to Malaysia.

“Malaysia’s tourism has a lot of potential. But it is not so well known in Italy. Malaysia is an exotic yet modern country, rich with history, nature, and cultures.

“It has all the characteristics to attract more Italian tourists,” he said.

While there has been an increase in tourist arrivals between both countries over the years, the number is still low, with tourist flow between the two countries estimated at only 40,000 people, he added.