Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Malaysia eyes 2 million Chinese tourist arrivals in 2014

BEIJING: Malaysia is expected to attract two million Chinese tourist arrivals next year in conjunction with the Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2014.

Malaysia managed to attract a total of 1.45 million Chinese tourist arrivals for the period from January to September, a rise of 32.6 percent compared to the same period last year, said Noran Ujang, director of Tourism Malaysia's Beijing Office.

Hence, he expressed confidence that although Malaysia's target was 1.7 million Chinese tourist arrivals this year, it would be able to attract two million tourist arrivals from the world's second largest economy in 2014, he told Malaysian media during a briefing with local travel agents here, Tuesday.

A total of 10 tourism exhibitions and fairs were expected to be held in China next year, including China's northern city of Harbin's Ice Sculpture Competition, Fishing Expo, Golf Show, and VMY 2014 grand fair, which would be held in May with more special fares promotion to be expected, said Noran.

He said a total of 21 new tourism initiatives would be implemented next year, including golf tourism, "Love Tour, Love Malaysia" silver-haired tour packages, fishing elite Malaysia tournament tour packages, "Ma Shang Liu Lian" durian tour packages and "fly and ride" packages.

General manager of BTG Outbound Tours Li Shuang said the company was expected to bring about 2,000 to 3,000 Chinese tourists in next year, espcially from Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) segment.

He said Malaysia was ranked among the top three travel destination in Asean countries for Chinese tourists, especially when China's currency, the yuan, had strengthened and reduced the cost of travel for Chinese tourists.

"However, air accessibility and hotel accommodation shortages are still the main challenges for us to bring in more visitors," Li added.

Vice-general manager and district manager of China Comfort Travel Group Co. Ltd Wang Yang said the company would focus on the elderly travellers' group in VMY 2014.

Wang said the silver-haired tour packages would include health checks, packages for three generation, food and photography tours.

Currently, China recorded about 200 million elderly demographic, which accounted for 14.8 percent of the total population.

Fish Tale Adventures, the first fishing company in China which is also a Malaysian based company, will organise fishing elite Malaysia tournament tour packages every year.

Its general manager Kevin Sun said the number of fishing elites rose tenfold from less than 200 recorded in 2008 to more than 1600 people in 2013.

In order to increase awareness among Chinese anglers of 2014 VYM, Sun suggested that tourism agents sponsored key high-end tournaments in the country.

General Manager of Grand Tour Golf Travel Service, Richard Song said the Malaysian government had invested heavily in golf courses in recent years to emerge as one of the Chinese golfers' favorite destinations.

"The quality of high-end golf courses are incomparable, there are people who speak Mandarin too and the climate is stable " he said, adding it was expected more than 100 people under MICE programme would participate in the golf tournament to be held in Kuala Lumpur next year in February. - Bernama

Source : The Star Online, 24 Dec, 2013.