Malaysia’s new Tourism Minister, Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing has outlined his ministry’s targets for international arrivals in the coming year. Supported by the return of Chinese tourists and a range of new promotional activities, officials are already working hard to deliver results.
Speaking at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on 22 January, the Tourism Minister confirmed his ambitions, based on the latest figures. “Last year we had 3.1 (million foreign tourists),” said Tiong in a statement. “We hope that this year we can get at least five million or six million,” he added.
Tiong, who is also the MP for Bintulu, was at KLIA in order to personally welcome the latest influx of foreign arrivals from China. He believes their return will be critical to reaching arrivals targets in the months ahead, and is looking to roll out the welcome wagon to visitors from all over Asia this year.
“Our purpose today is to welcome tourists from Asian countries, especially China,” said the Minister, who went on to express his hopes that Malaysia will be the destination of choice this year for holidaymakers in China, Asia and beyond.
He also pointed out a range of temporary signage around the airport, which is presented in multiple languages and designed to welcome arrivals from all over the world. The signage is indicative of wider efforts to provide a warm welcome to arrivals from abroad, with more permanent installations expected to be installed in the near future.
In addition, officials handed out goodie bags to all new arrivals, which included samples of black and white pepper from Sarawak (Tiong’s home province) and a pepper grinder. For the first influx of returning Chinese tourists and the millions more expected to follow in 2023, the minister is hoping to provide an unforgettable taste of Malaysia.