PUTRAJAYA: Almost 180,000 Chinese tourists arrived in Malaysia from January to March this year, says Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing.
The Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister said that the 178,150 total was much higher than the 1,857 in the first quarter of 2022 during the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, he said this was less than the 841,800 tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The ministry is working hard to attract foreign tourists, in response to the government's call to boost the country's economic growth.
"The number of Chinese tourists arrivals is increasing rapidly and will continue and improve," he said during the ministry's Hari Raya open house on Monday (May 15).
In his speech, Tiong requested for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to increase funding for his ministry.
Meanwhile, Anwar asked Tiong to discuss the issue of visa-on-arrival for foreign tourists with Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.
Anwar said he is proud of the ministry's success in boosting the number of tourists to Malaysia.
"The ministry is important in the country's economic development strategy because it can increase income.
"I have appointed a 'strong man' to lead, and I congratulate him because, in the last few months, we have seen a surge in the number of tourists in the country," he said, praising Tiong and the ministry's efforts.