Malaysia is expected to hit its target of three million Chinese tourist arrivals this year, an increase from 2.1 million in 2016, a sentiment buoyed by visa relaxation, increased air connectivity and a series of in-market trade events.
Minister of tourism and culture, Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, is confident that the target is within reach following the government’s introduction of the Electronic Travel Registration & Information (eNTRI) and e-visa facilities as well as improved air accessibility.
This year alone, Malaysia Airlines has launched nine new routes to China, while AirAsia commenced thrice-weekly flights between Langkawi and Shenzhen in August and AirAsia X began daily Kuala Lumpur-Wuhan flights in March.
At press time, Malaysia enjoys 470 connections from China, the largest for countries in its mediumhaul network.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) will collaborate with Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce to participate in the 2017 Guangdong 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo at Dongguan next month. MATTA is providing free booths, accommodation and transportation at the expo for its inbound members participating in the show.
MATTA president, KL Tan, said: “The expo is another potential platform for our members to create business opportunities and to increase arrivals from China to Malaysia.”
In 1H2018, MATTA will plan a sales mission to Nanning, Guilin, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, following an earlier sales mission collaboration with Tourism Malaysia earlier this year in Shenzhen and Guangzhou.
Tan shared: “These B2B sessions will be open to MATTA members as well as hoteliers and local attractions. The roadshows are a cost-effective manner for small and big players to join and build their contacts, expand market share and ultimately draw more arrivals into Malaysia.”
Malaysian Inbound Travel Association (MITA) is also looking at conducting seminars on the needs of the Chinese traveller, targeted at inbound agents seeking to expand business by venturing into the Chinese market, revealed MITA president, Uzaidi Udanis.
He added: “We also plan to offer basic Mandarin classes for the travel trade frontliners, which may include personnel from the immigration department, tourist police and taxi drivers.”