THE Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) has called for certain parties to stop over-reacting to the news that China will once again allow its citizens to resume outbound travel.
This coincidentally came at a time when the world’s second largest economy is loosening its Zero-COVID stance – to even allow its citizens to travel again – at a time when the country saw a spike in its COVID-19 infection rate.
“Outright calls to shut our borders to Chinese travellers at this very early stage are irrational and irresponsible,” MATTA president Datuk Tan Kok Liang pointed out.
“Since the re-opening of our borders in early 2022, our country has been making steady, positive progress towards recovery and any knee-jerk reaction to re-introduce restrictions without proper planning risks undoing all that we have achieved.”
In this regard, Tan said MATTA has complete faith in the Health Ministry (MOH) in the managing of Chinese arrivals just as the authorities have done with travelers from other parts of the world.
“The Government’s decision should balance the health and well-being of the people and Malaysia’s reputation as a safe destination as well as the economic ramifications of its policies in this matter,” noted Tan.
“It must also benchmark with current global practices while considering its own capacity and limitations rather than bow to lobbyist groups”.
Data from Tourism Malaysia has indicated that 3.1 million Chinese tourists visited Malaysia in 2019, making it the country’s third largest source market for international arrivals. Initial estimates indicate that 1.2 million Chinese will travel to Malaysia in 2023 which is expected to generate approximately RM 3.6 bil in tourism receipts.
“Bear in mind that Chinese travelers won’t arrive all at once which will allow the Government to monitor and manage the situation as it develops,” Tan reminded.
“To that end, the national travel association will provide feedback to help the Government tackle and manage this process as it unfolds.” – Jan 2, 2023
Main pic credit: Sri Sutra Travel