Tourism Malaysia is aiming for a staggering eight million arrivals from China in Visit Malaysia Year 2020, more than double the 2.9 million Chinese the country received in 2018.
Overall, the NTO targets 30 million tourist arrivals for next year. This means the share of Chinese visitors would make up around 26.7 per cent attract of total arrivals, double the 13.1 per cent in 2018.
Mohmed Razip Hasan, deputy director-general (promotion) Tourism Malaysia, is positive that Malaysia is not being over ambitious, having benchmarked the numbers against Thailand, which attracted some 10.5 million Chinese tourists last year.
To attract more Chinese, Mohmed Razip said Tourism Malaysia is planning to increase its presence in China by attending tradeshows in addition to doing more online promotions with Chinese technology providers.
He added that there will be more promotions in second tier cities and the tourism board will promote its joint international tourism development fund with Malaysia Airports to attract more charter flights from China to Kuala Lumpur as well as secondary destinations in Malaysia.
“We wish to spread Chinese arrivals, so that secondary destinations such as Penang, Melaka, Johor, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching also benefit from tourist arrivals, he explained.
According to Mohmed, Tourism Malaysia is not just interested in numbers but also yield, and hence will promote niche segments such as weddings and honeymoon, shopping, golfing, diving, birding and homestays.
He stressed: “We can’t do this alone, but with the support and collaboration from industry players such as The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) and various airlines.”
The NTO is also promoting ASEAN to Chinese travelers in collaboration with the Federation of ASEAN Tourism Associations (FATA).
Jimmy Thoo, vice president Inbound and domestic at MATTA, shared that MATTA is planning to organise a roadshow to Chengdu and Chongqing in September to further promote Malaysia after participating at China (Guangdong) International Tourism Industry Expo in Guangzhou from August 30 to September 1.
Recently, minister for tourism, arts and culture, Mohamaddin Ketapi said visa-on-arrival for China and India – two major inbound source markets for Malaysia – may be relaxed next year, in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year. The decision is pending further discussions with relevant ministries and ministers.