BEIJING: Tourist arrivals from China fell 6.5% to 754,696 in the first five months of the year, with the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and the Sabah kidnapping incidents being the main reasons for it.
Malaysia originally eyed two million visitors in conjunction with the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 but the series of unfortunate incidents had hampered its target.
Despite the challenges, Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board chairman Tan Sri Dr Ng Yen Yen said it is bent on meeting its revised target of 1.8 million tourists this year and two million next year.
“For 15 years, the number of tourists from China had been increasing except during the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) period.
“Instead of huge billboards, we now have to initiate a deeper and wider reach. We are adopting a ‘silent promotion’ approach with the local travel agents.
“By inviting them to meetings with us, we exchange thoughts on how to move ahead together,” she said yesterday after meeting representatives from tour agencies here.
Dr Ng said the current visa policy paled in comparison with the policies from neighbouring countries in terms of pricing and convenience.
She pointed out that the e-visa system and waiver of visa fee for 120 days are examples of attractive visa policies offered by neighbours in the region.