Promoting Malaysian-Fujian heritage

Tiong (second from left) showing art from Fujian province at one of the booths as Zhou (second from right) looks on.

WITH the reopening of China’s borders, Malaysia is aiming to restore its position as one of the preferred tourist destinations for people from China.

One of the ways it hopes to do this is by restarting flights between Fujian province and Malaysia.

In his speech at the culture and tourism promotion event of “Refreshing Fujian: Starting Point of the Maritime Silk Road”, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing said in April, there were only 17 flights per week on this route.

“The low frequency of weekly flights has resulted in low interest from Fujian and Malaysian tourists in travel between the two places, besides high ticket prices.

“We actively encourage Malaysian and Fujian airlines to increase the frequency of flights and the number of seats to Malaysia,” he said in his speech at the event hosted by the Fujian Provincial People’s Government and organised by the Fujian Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism.

Tiong said the event in Kuala Lumpur aimed to promote and showcase Fujian province as the starting point of the Maritime Silk Road, as well as to demonstrate its rich cultural and tourism resources.

He said Fujian province possessed a diverse cultural heritage and historical sites, and is famous for its cuisine, similar to Malaysia.

“In addition, there are many Fujian people in Klang, Selangor and northern parts of the peninsula including Penang where the preservation, promotion and inheritance of Fujianese cultural customs are well established.

“Fujian and Malaysia both have a long history and diverse culture, thus there is a deep connection and shared heritage with the Fujian province.

“Through this cultural and tourism promotion event, it can provide Malaysians with Fujianese heritage more opportunities to understand their ancestral homeland,” he added.

At the event, four travel agencies from Fujian signed cooperation agreements with Malaysian travel agencies.

“The Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board in various parts of China will be prepared to work with local airlines, travel agencies and media to actively promote and facilitate tourism between the two countries,” said Tiong.

Fujian provincial committee secretary and Fujian Provincial People’s Congress standing committee chairman Zhou Zuyi said in his speech that this year marked the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the China-Malaysia comprehensive strategic partnership.

“Next year, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“Malaysia was one of the first countries to respond to the Belt and Road Initiative and is an important juncture of the Maritime Silk Road.

“Fujian, as the eastern starting point of the ancient Maritime Silk Road, is the core area between China and Malaysia; it has a long history and a great potential for cooperation and development,” he said.

Zhou said he hoped enterprises in Malaysia will fully explore the Fujian cultural and tourism market, carry out diverse exchanges and share the opportunities with their Fujian counterparts.

Fujian Provincial Department Culture and Tourism director-general Lin Xiangdong cited the “King’s Boat Sending Ceremony” as a cultural heritage shared by the people of China and Malaysia that vividly showed the profound friendship between Fujian and Malaysia.

“There is a saying in Malaysia, ‘flowing water will never stop’, which describes the close friendship between China and Malaysia.

“Against this context, cultural and economic exchanges as well as cooperation between Malaysia and Fujian have always been active.

“Malaysia is the most important inbound tourist market for Fujian, and also an important destination of outbound tourism for Fujian residents,” said Lin.

Attendees and delegates at the event were also entertained by dance performances titled “Fu”, and “Legendary Women in Three Lanes and Seven Alleys”, including a serenade by previous winners of Astro Classic Golden Melody, Chris Cheong and Ricky Lim Yong Huat.

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