Start preparing for visitor arrivals from China, tourism players advised

Chia hopes China will lift travel restrictions in January 2023 ahead of Chinese New Year celebrations.

MALAYSIA’S tourism sector will benefit immensely once China lifts restrictions to allow its citizens to travel overseas.

Malaysian Chinese Tourism Association (MCTA) chief executive officer Sam Chia hoped that China would lift restrictions in the first-quarter of 2023.

He anticipated that China would follow other countries, namely Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, in allowing its citizens to visit other countries.

“Our tourism sector was badly hit in 2020 and 2021 during the height of the global Covid-19 pandemic,’’ he said after a Jeju tourism briefing session by South Korea’s Jeju Tourism Association chairman Dong-Seok Boo organised by the Johor MCTA Chapter.

Chia said Malaysia’s tourism players need to start preparing for the arrival of mainland Chinese tourists next year.

Based on Tourism Malaysia data, there was uninterrupted growth in the number of Chinese tourist arrivals – from 1.61 million in 2014 to 2.94 million in 2019.

Data also revealed that China was Malaysia’s third biggest tourism market after Singapore and Indonesia.

The 2019 report said Malaysia was the sixth most popular destination for Chinese tourists after Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia.

Chia said it would be good if the Chinese government decides to lift restrictions in January 2023 ahead of Chinese New Year celebrations.

Next year’s Chinese New Year to welcome the Year of the Rabbit falls on Jan 22.

“We are also expecting tourist arrivals from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong to increase during the lunar new year,’’ he added.

The number of Singaporeans entering Johor Baru during the celebrations was expected to increase too, he said.

On that note, Chia urged the authorities to address traffic congestion at the Johor Causeway and the Second Link crossing in Tanjung Kupang, Gelang Patah.

“We have raised the congestion issue at the two-land links with the relevant authorities since the reopening of the border between Malaysia and Singapore on April 1 this year,’’ he said.

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