KUALA LUMPUR: Whoever said that Malaysian Chinese living overseas are not patriotic has made a big mistake, said Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
“I was surprised and impressed when I learnt that Malaysian Chinese were helping to promote Malaysia in China even though they were just ordinary businessmen there and not travel agents,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby.
Zahid said he met these Malaysian businessmen when he was in Beijing a few weeks ago.
“They have been telling the Chinese nationals there that Malaysia was nothing like what was portrayed by the international media.
“They also helped to promote Malaysia to expatriates there by holding seminars and meetings, and these are voluntary work.
“I was so impressed and proud of their efforts that I unofficially made 10 of them Malaysian tourism ambassadors,” he said.
Zahid said his ministry was now working with the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) to promote Malaysia in China.
“The number of Chinese tourists has dropped 49% in the first half of the year to 148,000, from 275,000 in the corresponding period last year,” he said, adding that the 550,000 Chinese tourists visited the country last year.
He said his ministry would, together with CNTA, enhance public relations, come up with new travel advisories and launch new thematic and tactical advertisements to attract Chinese tourists of the higher income group.
“We will also take part in the Chinese International Travel Mart to promote Malaysia,” he said.
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