SHANGHAI, Nov 14 – Malaysia’s tourism sector is expected to register a positive growth in Chinese tourist arrivals in the last quarter of the year due to year-end holiday season and the increased confidence of the Chinese people. While acknowledging Malaysia’s tourism had been hit hard since the disappearance of flight MH370 last March, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz believed the situation had since improved.
“The Chinese tourist arrivals dropped significantly in May and June, which registered a -35 per cent year-on-year growth compared to the same period last year,” he said. Nazri was speaking to Malaysian journalists here after attending the opening ceremony of China International Travel Mart (CITM) 2014 in Shanghai, beginning Friday which ends on Nov 16.
He is leading a Malaysian delegation comprising Tourism Malaysia’s officials, travel agents and hoteliers here to promote Malaysia Year of Festival 2015 (MyFest 2015) in conjunction with the CITM 2014. However, Nazri said the growth in August had increased to -2 per cent year-on-year, signalling the improvement and confidence of the tourists in Malaysian tourism industry, with a positive growth expected for the last four months of the year.
He was optimistic the visit of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to China in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties in May this year had helped improve the confidence of Chinese tourists to visit Malaysia. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang had said the Chinese government would make efforts to resume the number of Chinese tourists to Malaysia, he said.
Malaysia has attracted some 997,000 Chinese tourists from January to July this year, a drop of of 11.8 per cent from last year’s 1,130,000 Chinese tourists. Malaysia has initially targeted two million Chinese tourists this year. Tourism Malaysia figures showed a Chinese tourist would spend RM515 per day, or RM3092 per trip when visiting Malaysia last year.
Nazri said Tourism Malaysia had intensified the promotion in second-tier cities in China, namely Sichuan, Chengdu and Wuhan to bring back the confidence of Chinese tourists to visit Malaysia. “The government is working very hard to attract more visitors to Malaysia, hopefully more Chinese visitors will visit the country next year for MyFest 2015,” he added.