SEPANG: Tourism Malaysia is actively strategising to reach a five-fold target of more than five million tourists from China this year, said its Director-General Datuk Dr Ammar Abd Ghapar (pic).
He said the strategy included increasing flight frequencies from China and encouraging new airlines in the country to consider promoting Malaysia as a top destination of choice.
“We are encouraging more charter flights (from China) to implement the initiative and for example, we are leveraging (with travel agents and airlines) to increase the frequency of flights from maybe twice a week to the target of four flights a week,” he said after welcoming Loong Air’s inaugural flight from Hangzhou, China, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) Terminal 2 here on Thursday (Feb 2).
He said the target was 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 million and seven million Chinese tourists for this year, which means a five-fold increase on last year’s Chinese arrivals, in line with the 30-day visa exemption initiative for Chinese and Indian tourists which started on Dec 1, 2023.
Earlier, Tourism Malaysia deputy chairman Datuk Yeoh Soon Hin in his welcoming speech said China is a key tourist source market to Malaysia and remains in the top six markets for tourist arrivals into Malaysia.
“Last year, Malaysia received about 1.4 million Chinese tourists and in total about 18 million international tourist arrivals with RM66.3bil in tourism expenditure.
“This new route from Hangzhou, as well as a few other increased frequencies, new routes and charter flights connecting first and second tier cities in China to Malaysia would be able to cater to the growing demands for tourists from China,” he said.
Loong Air will operate three flights per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport with the flight time at 11.10am (five hours to KL) while the return flight from KLIA Terminal 2 is at 5.25pm. – Bernama