Tourism Malaysia announced Monday that the first direct flight from Batam to Kuala Lumpur was launched by Indonesian airline company Batik Air, further connecting Malaysia and Indonesia. 

This marked a milestone in strengthening the already robust ties between Malaysia and Indonesia. This new flight route offers convenient travel options for business, leisure, and medical tourism, enhancing connectivity between the two nations. 

“Given our geographical proximity, shared cultural heritage and strong connectivity, Indonesia holds a special place as a key source market for Malaysia,” said Ammar Abdul Ghapar, the director general of Tourism Malaysia. 

“We are confident that this connection will further bolster tourist arrivals as we are gearing up for Visit Malaysia 2026 and contribute to the economic prosperity of both nations.” 

Batam is known for being one of the largest islands in the Riau Archipelago of Indonesia. It’s famous for its strategic location, serving as a busy port and a gateway to Indonesia from neighbouring countries like Singapore and Malaysia. 

Despite its industrial focus, Batam has also developed a tourism industry. It attracts visitors mainly from nearby Singapore, who come for its affordable shopping, golf courses, spas, and waterfront resorts. 

The inaugural flight arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 1 on Saturday, where passengers were greeted by Ghapar, along with representatives from Batik Air and Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad. 

The route will run three times per week with Boeing 737 aircraft.  

Batik Air Chief Executive Officer Datuk Chandran Rama Muthy highlighted the strategic significance of launching direct flights from Batam to Kuala Lumpur. He noted that this move would expand Batik Air’s presence in key markets and provide passengers from Batam with access to the airline’s extensive flight network, spanning 53 destinations across 22 countries through Kuala Lumpur International Airport. 

Indonesia ranks second among Malaysia’s top ten tourist-generating markets, with the ASEAN market being the primary contributor to Malaysia’s tourism sector. 

Indonesian travellers are drawn to Malaysia’s diverse offerings, including renowned medical tourism services and vibrant shopping destinations. 

In 2024, Malaysia aims to welcome 27.3 million tourists, generating MYR102.7 billion, around SGD28.9 billion, in revenue. The forthcoming Visit Malaysia Year 2026 sets an ambitious target of 35.6 million foreign tourist arrivals and MYR147.1 billion in receipts. 

A “Visit Malaysia Year” is a tourism campaign initiated by the Malaysian government to promote tourism to Malaysia on a large scale. It is held every few years and typically involves various promotional activities, marketing campaigns, and events aimed at attracting tourists from around the world to visit Malaysia during the designated year. 

The last Visit Malaysia Year was in 2020, preceded by one in 2014.