From 29 March to 15 April, Malaysia’s Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) set off with Tourism Malaysia on a sales mission and roadshow to major cities in China. Stopping at Beijing, Chongqing, Guangxi, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Xiamen, the delegation showcased Malaysia’s unique attractions to thousands of potential clients and partners.
Since China lifted its travel restrictions on 6 February 2023 and allowed residents to travel abroad once more, many tourism sectors in Southeast Asia have been quick to court prospective visitors from the Chinese market. In 2023, Malaysia is targeting 16.1 million international tourist arrivals, with RM49.2 billion in tourism receipts; by 2025, these figures are expected to rise significantly higher. Tapping into the Chinese market would be a major step towards these targets.
“China is a vital market for Malaysia, and we are grateful to be included in their list of 20 countries to visit,” said Dato Sri Tiong King Sing, Malaysia’s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, who was joined on the tour by 70 organisations and regional government bodies. This included Tourism Terengganu, Tourism Selangor, Sabah Tourism Board, Sarawak Tourism Board, and participating agencies such as Malaysia Health Tourism Council (MHTC) and Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H).
“Our presence here today is a testament to our commitment to strengthening our relationship with China,” added the minister. “Our focus on the Malaysia My Second Home program, medical tourism, and education tourism will help us achieve our target of 23.5 million international tourist arrivals and RM76.8 billion in tourism receipts by 2025.”
During the sales mission, a number of seminars were held by Tourism Malaysia, focusing on the leisure market, niche markets, MM2H, and medical tourism. Business matching sessions were also organised in each of the cities to provide a platform for Malaysian industry players to reconnect with China after the long wait due to Covid-19.
Tourism officials in Malaysia remain optimistic that flight frequency will be increased to meet the expected demand in travel from China. There are currently around 81 flights each week from China to Malaysia, operated by flyers such as Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Cathay Pacific, China Southern Airlines, Shenzen Airlines, Xiamen Airlines and Malindo Air.
Working through Tourism Malaysia, MOTAC will continue to support the travel industry in the next few months, helping airlines, travel agents, product owners and hoteliers to promote Malaysia to the Chinese market. Now that the door is open and the invitation has been sent, Malaysia is expecting to welcome many Chinese guests in the months ahead.