Tourism sector looking forward to the return of China tourists

KUALA LUMPUR: The tourism industry is all set to receive tourists from China in stages as that country eases its overseas travel restrictions from Jan 8.

Malaysian Inbound Tourist Association (Mita) president Uzaidi Udanis said China's decision to scrap quarantine measures for travellers is hoped to bring in about three million travellers next year.

Uzaidi said Chinese tourists are an important contributor to the country's economy as they are known to be big spenders.

"They (Chinese tourists) are very large in number and the industry was really affected when they were unable to visit," he said, adding that the country saw 2.9 million Chinese tourist arrivals in 2019.

Despite the excitement to receive the influx of Chinese tourists, he said health is still a priority and they will oblige with any Covid-19 preventive measures imposed by the Health Ministry.

"We have learned from the past two years. Our mantra is 'good health means good business'. We have to protect our industry and it is most important that we follow the SOPs," he told the media here on Thursday (Dec 29).

To ensure that no outbreaks will happen and to curb overstaying, he proposed that the government make it compulsory for visitors to use travel agents' services.

This was among the measures in the Langkawi travel bubble last year where it was compulsory for inbound travellers to use the service of such agents.

Meanwhile, Uzaidi said Mita was also encouraging its members to organise special events that will attract affluent Chinese to visit Malaysia, such as the association;s own Fish Tales 2023 angling cup to be held in Rompin, Pahang.

He said the market for angling tourism is big in China and the association is expecting more than 500 participants.

"Statistically, there are an estimated 120 million fishing enthusiasts in China and 2% of this group (2.4 million) will travel once a year for angling activities.

"Each angler would spend US$2,500 to US$3,000 (RM11,000 to RM13,200) per fishing trip in Malaysia," he said.

Tourism Malaysia Package and Development Division director Shahrin Mokhtar said the Fish Tales 2023 event also encourages community-based tourism.

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