Malaysia: Chinese Tourists Are Back!

Chinese tourist arrivals to Malaysia has recorded an upward trend with a growth of 4% for the year 2015. Meanwhile, tourism receipts from the market went up to US$ 1.47 billion (RM5.73 billion), an increase of 16.1% compared to the previous year. According to feedback received from industry players such as airlines, tour operators and hoteliers, the first quarter of 2016 is also showing a continued rising trend of arrivals from this market.

The trend obviously confirms the positive effect of the recent review on our visa arrangements and its announcement in early March. In fact, preliminary figures indicate that the number of visa applications received at the centre in China has doubled in this first quarter.

Similarly, new services by the airlines have been mounted and are showing excellent load factor. These airlines are China Southern Airlines offering services between Guangzhou and Kota Kinabalu with three flights a week beginning December 2015, and Air Asia which provides four weekly flights between Guangzhou and Langkawi beginning January 2015.

In addition, a total of 17 charter flights have been mounted between China (Chengdu and Kunming) to Kota Kinabalu so far this year.

An evolution that has been positively commented by Nazri Abdul Aziz, Minister of Tourism and Culture: “I am pleased with this development however more effort is needed to actively speed up the growth of this market. We will be seeking more resources to embark on a massive campaign covering China, India and our neighbour, Singapore,” he declares.

The Ministry of Tourism and Culture is constantly monitoring the growth of tourists from this market and would like to record our appreciation to the Ministry of Home Affairs for their support and commitment towards the aim of boosting tourist arrivals to the country.

Other major factors made into bringing back Chinese tourists to Malaysia include:

  • The reinstatement of Air China’s Beijing-Kuala Lumpur route in October 2015, providing 1,016 additional seats per week
  • The appointment of singer Shila Amzah who has a large following in China as Malaysia’s Tourism Ambassador to China from March 2016 to February 2018
  • A 12-month joint promotion campaign (Oct 2015 – Nov 2016) between Tourism Malaysia and major agents in China to promote tour packages to Malaysia by using Air China. The campaign involves front-liners’ training, tourism seminars, tour packages advertisement, agents and media inspection tours and social media promotion.