Chinese tourists should now venture to secondary cities in Malaysia estimates Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to local newspapers.
Until now, Malaysia basically can be summarized to a handful of destinations for Chinese travellers. Most Chinese go to Kuala Lumpur, Genting for gambling, Penang, Melaka, Johor Bahru and Kota Kinabalu. How about to lure them in the future to Kuala Terengganu, Taiping, Alor Setar or Kuching? Small towns across the country will be the centre of promotion efforts to attract also tourists from China.
The idea has been mulled out by Deputy Prime Minister Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. In a recent interview with local journalists, the DPM indicated that Tourism Malaysia embarked on the plan to further expand the tourism sector. However, Dr Zahid acknowledges that Malaysia will have to develop infrastructure to facilitate tourist arrivals. He sees indeed shortcomings such as the lack of access to such areas but with the right approach it has promising potentials.
“Our attractions are not limited to the main cities in Malaysia,” he said in a briefing with the Malaysian media in China. “I have discussed with several low cost carriers to venture into certain destinations based on the number of potential visitors to Malaysia.
“There are some new destinations that can be exploited because there are many Chinese tourists who like the tropical forests and the beaches.”
Zahid said the China National Tourism Administration, a government department that looks into tourism in China, could also help in this.
“The CNTA would normally suggests destinations to tourists on where they could go and this is where they could help,” he explained.
Also present in the briefing were Malaysian Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau Datuk Tengku Sirajuzzaman Tengku Mohamed Ariffin and Consul Grace Rebekah Teh.
The move to embark on the new plan to attract more tourists from China especially those from the Special Administrative Region here follows the signing of the Asean-Hong Kong-China Free Trade Agreement a couple of days ago.
According to the DPM, a total of 1.8 million tourists from China, excluding Hong Kong and Macau, visited Malaysia as of Oct 31. This figure, although on the rise, will however not be sufficient to help reaching the target of three million tourists from China until year end. Most likely, total arrivals from China will reach 2.2 million for the entire year 2017.
Zahid said meanwhile that he was optimistic about the increase in numbers over the next two years especially among high-spending tourists, especially with the launch of the Visit Malaysia year 2019. The Deputy Prime Minister will discuss with Chinese authorities to see more charter flights being allowed into Malaysian secondary destinations.