Johor theme parks reel in Chinese visitors

JOHOR’S new theme park attractions are proving irresistible to the Chinese market, which forms a new and growing source market for the Malaysian destination, according to inbound operators.

Mint Leong, managing director of Sunflower Holidays, said: “As late as 2011, Johor Bahru used to be a city that we largely bypassed (when travelling) to or from Singapore. If the (tour) group stopped in the city, it was merely to get a bite before proceeding to Singapore or Malacca.

“But now with Legoland Malaysia and Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park, we have created mono-Johor tours, and tours combining Johor with Kuala Lumpur, and Malacca and Johor with Singapore.”

She said such tours appealed to the Chinese and her company expected a 10 per cent increase in demand for such products next year.

“We have developed a new edutainment tour package to be rolled out in 2014 combining Legoland with tours to fruit farms and spice gardens in Johor. We think such a tour will appeal to Chinese families with young children,” Leong shared.

Fu Kei Cheong, general manager of Reliance Sightseeing, said his company had also seen increased interest in tour packages to Johor which bundled Legoland Malaysia. He said: “With the closure of Genting Outdoor Theme Park on September 1, Chinese families are looking for other theme park outlets and Legoland Malaysia will benefit from this.”

He said Chinese FITs who had visited Singapore and Kuala Lumpur wanted recommendations for new holiday destinations and were “easily swayed” by Johor’s man-made and natural attractions.

“We easily anticipate a 10 to 15 per cent increase in tours to Johor next year,” Fu said.

Likewise, Cindy Seow, managing director, GIT Tours & Travel, predicts 10 per cent growth from the Chinese market overall and a corresponding increase in demand for Johor tours.

“The theme park attractions, be it Legoland Malaysia or Puteri Harbour Theme Parks, have given tourists a reason to spend a night in Johor,” she said.

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