The Malaysian government has granted a licence for TUI to start a tour operation in the country.
The capital, Kuala Lumpur, will be the location for the venture, called TUI International Holidays Malaysia.
TUI said it is focusing on increasing numbers of South-East Asian guests, who are travelling more frequently and differently than in the past, and wants to grow in this region.
Destinations include both Europe and the countries of South-East Asia, where TUI already operates its own hotels and clubs in Sri Lanka, on the Maldives and in Thailand.
TUI chief development officer for new markets Frank Rosenberger said: “We are developing holiday offers which are also attractive to Asian travellers in both neighbouring countries such as Sri Lanka and Thailand, as well as the long-haul routes from Asia.
“The start of the new division in Kuala Lumpur is an important step towards addressing even more Asian customers in the future.”
Rosenberger is responsible for the ‘TUI 2022’ strategy, which aims to achieve one million additional customers in new markets by 2022.
Unlike the classic TUI markets in Europe, the South-East Asia business will be ‘operated via the group’s digital platforms and together with strong partners’, TUI said.
The expansion of the TUI hotel portfolio in Asia is also progressing, said Sebastian Ebel, member of TUI AG’s executive board and CEO Hotels & Resorts, Cruises, Destination Experiences.
He said: “As a developer, investor and operator of hotels, we have a very strong position in Europe, in Mexico and in the Caribbean.
“We have started to expand in Southeast Asia and want to grow to a total of 20 or 25 hotels in the next few years.
“We also want to market our hotels in the region. The short and medium-haul destinations in the region are becoming increasingly attractive to guests from Southeast Asia, for example, our Robinson Clubs in Asia or the RIU Hotel in Sri Lanka. Here, TUI’s strong hotel brands have enormous potential.”
In addition, TUI’s three cruise lines are now regularly calling at Asian ports. TUI Cruises and Marella Cruises have each stationed a ship in Singapore and Langkawi during the winter season.