MALAYSIAN Tourism Promotion Board (Tourism Malaysia) director-general Datuk Dr Ammar Abd Ghapar said the country aims to increase flight frequencies from China and encourage new airlines in the country to consider promoting Malaysia as a top destination of choice.
The strategy is to attract more than five million tourists from China this year.
Speaking after welcoming Loong Air’s inaugural flight from China’s Hangzhou at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) yesterday (Feb 2), the official said that Malaysia is encouraging more charter flights from China to implement the initiative.
Travel agents and airlines will be roped in to beef up promotions to increase the frequency of flights from twice a week to the target of four flights a week.
“For example, from two flights a week, it was increased to four and previously flights from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur but it also created new routes to Penang or Kota Kinabalu.
“So we have given at least three options to airlines to increase the number of tourists from China to reach the target of five million this year and prepare for Visit Malaysia Year 2026 (TMM2026),” he said.
He added that the target is also in line with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China this year, in addition to boosting tourism efforts for Visit Malaysia Year 2026.
He was also optimistic that Tourism Malaysia can reach the target of between five and seven million Chinese tourists this year, which means a five-fold increase on last year’s Chinese arrivals.
In 2023, Malaysia received about 1.4 million Chinese tourists and, in total about 18 million international tourist arrivals with US$14.02 bil in tourism expenditure.
Chinese and Indian tourists currently enjoy a 30-day visa exemption initiative that started on Dec 1, 2023. – Feb 3, 2024
Main photo credit: The Nation