KUALA LUMPUR: The Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry is eyeing a boost in tourist traffic between Malaysia and China, as it plans to talk to airlines on operating a direct flight route between Kuala Lumpur to Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou province in southern China.
Its Deputy Minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik said that the Ministry planned to discuss the matter of a direct flight route between Kuala Lumpur and Guiyang with local and international airlines.
"We will talk to airlines such as China Southern Airlines, Air Asia, and Malindo to fly direct. Right now there are no direct flights," Muhammad Bakhtiar told the media after delivering the keynote speech at the A Colourful Guizhou Promotion Conference here at Mandarin Oriental Hotel here on Thursday (July 12).
Guizhou is a mountainous province famous for its minority tribes with amazing costumes with silver jewellery and colourful embroidery.
Its also renowned for its traditional wooden villages and pristine natural scenery, especially the Huangguoshu waterfalls, one of the largest in China.
A direct flight route between the two cities could open up tourism opportunities for both Malaysia and China, said Muhammad Bakhtiar.
"We are getting more tourists from China, so we are looking at the option to have direct flights between Guiyang and Kuala Lumpur," he said.
Muhammad Bakhtiar revealed that there were 1.009 million tourists from China to Malaysia from January to April 2018. This was an increase of 37.2% as compared to the same period in 2017.
He said that the Ministry hoped to tap into the huge population of Guizhou, which stood at 43 million, for potential tourists to Malaysia with direct flights between the two cities.
He said that the Government was also trying to make it more convenient for Chinese tourists to get visas into the country.
CPC Guizhou Provincial Committee director-general (Publicity Department) Mu Dugui said that he hoped that a direct flight route will be opened between the two cities so that tourism activities between China and Malaysia can be increased.
"We have a good transport system which helps connect the province to the outside world.
"And with more air connectivity we can increase our promotion of Guizhou," he said, adding that currently there were direct flights from Guizhou to three other Southeast Asian cities, including Chiang Mai in Thailand.
He said that while Guizhou was a lesser-known destination among Malaysians compared to other Chinese cities, he hoped that more promotion and a direct flight route can increase the province visibility among Malaysian tourists.
The conference was jointly organised by CPC Guizhou Provincial Committee and Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce (MCCC).