Malaysian inbound agents reported a pick-up in Chinese bookings during the recently concluded National Day Golden Week holiday in China, with island destinations, eco-tourism and cultural tours doing well.
The threat of eruption at Bali’s Mount Agung had also contributed to tourists changing bookings from Bali to Sabah and Langkawi, observed Winnie Ng, deputy general manager, Pearl Holiday Travel & Tour.
She added: “This year, Taman Negara National Park, and eco-tourism activities in Kuantan saw a pick-up. In the past, these destinations were quite hard to sell.”
Another agent, Law Wai Shyang, executive director, Confidence Travel & Tour, said itineraries to Kuala Selangor, Raub and Pangkor Island – already popular with the Taiwan and Hong Kong markets – were introduced to the mainland market and sales were better than expected.
He said: “Repeat visitors were also looking for more than city tours and shopping. We saw more interest this year from FITs interested in experiencing local Chinese and Malay cultures. (We also see) greater interest to try local hawker-style food.”
Law saw a 15 per cent year-on-year growth in business from mainland China during the Chinese holiday peak.
Mint Leong, managing director of Sunflower Holidays, reported a 20 per cent growth over the 2016 Golden Week period, adding that improved air connectivity from China to Langkawi and Sabah had spurred interest for both destinations.
Another trend, she said, was an increase in groups that chose Malaysia as a mono destination rather than in combination with Thailand or Singapore.