Tourism Malaysia wooing more Chinese and Indian travellers
PETALING JAYA: Tourism Malaysia will be on a campaign to woo more Chinese and Indian tourists, now that they can enter the country without visas for short trips.
Its director-general Datuk Ammar Abd Ghapar said the visa-free entry from today is a positive development.
“We are looking at more collaboration with airlines, travel agents in India and China to enhance our promotion activities and accessibility,” he said.
Other tourism players were also happy with the new rules.
Searches for travel to Malaysia have surged on Chinese travel platforms, with travel apps recording up to three times the usual traffic, said Malaysia Inbound Chinese Association (Mica) president Datuk Dr Angie Ng.
“Travel agencies received numerous inquiries for mini-groups of up to 10 tourists, or six to eight people. These mini-groups are planning on coming here for Chinese New Year,” she said.
Many business groups are also planning to travel to Malaysia for the 50th anniversary celebrations of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China.
Ng said the visa-free initiative would significantly boost Malaysia’s tourism industry and the country’s economy. China and India together have a population of more than two billion.
Inbound Tourism Alliance chairman Uzaidi Udanis also said there have been numerous inquiries from Chinese and Indian tourists regarding Christmas and year-end trips to Malaysia.
“However, there haven’t been substantial bookings yet,” he said.
Uzaidi believes Chinese tourists often prefer independent and solo travel, while Indian tourists tend to choose packages through travel agencies.
He suggested that the immigration authorities plan on increasing counters during festive seasons and clarify the required documents to avoid misunderstandings.
Malaysian Chinese Tourism Association president Paul Paw said many Malaysians are also eager to travel to China.
According to Chinese travel websites, there has been a 70% increase in inquiries from those interested in travelling to China.
However, he noted that the local tourism industry might not see a complete recovery in the number of Chinese tourists during the upcoming Chinese New Year compared to the peak in 2019.
Nevertheless, industry players are optimistic about attracting more Chinese tourists during next year’s summer holidays and China’s Golden Week holiday.
“We estimate that it will take until the middle of next year to see more tourists coming to Malaysia,” he said.