BEIJING: Air China Ltd will resume its Beijing-Kuala Lumpur flight on Oct 25, three years after it suspended the route.
The move has been hailed as a boost to outbound travel to Malaysia.
The airline’s overseas sales senior manager Zhang Yun said an Airbus A330 would be deployed to serve the route four times a week.
“Malaysia is a beautiful country. We hope by plying this route again, and new energy will be injected into the travel market,” she said during a meeting with newly-appointed Tourism Malaysia chairman Wee Choo Keong (pic), who was in town to understand the perspective of travel agencies and airlines in promoting Malaysia as a tourism destination for the Chinese.
Noting that insufficient flights to Malaysia was one of the problems they face, representatives from travel agencies said the decision by Air China would definitely help push up tourist arrivals in Malaysia from China.
BTG Outbound Tours general manager Li Shuang said chartered flights were another option for travel agencies.
“However, it could be risky if one travel agency were to charter a flight on its own. Perhaps we can explore cooperation between Tourism Malaysia, airlines and travel agencies to work hand-in-hand to offer chartered flights together,” he said.
On the bugbear of visa applications, Shenzhen Junjie International Travel Service Co Ltd general manager Mei Ge called on Malaysia to introduce e-visa or visa on arrival to attract more Chinese tourists.
“Waiving the visa application fee is not a key factor – convenience in obtaining the visa is more important,” she said.
At the moment, tourists in Chinese cities without Malaysian visa processing centres have to send their passports to either Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai or Kunming.
“It will be much easier if tourists could submit their applications online, or apply for visa on arrival in Malaysia,” Mei said.
Wee said he would convey the suggestion to the Malaysian Government.
“Online visa application is something we ought to look into seriously,” he said.
Tourism Malaysia’s Beijing office director Noran Ujang said Malaysia could also look at capturing the retiree market in China, a number estimated at 200 million.
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