Worries for Malaysian Tourism industry may be unfounded as business goes on as usual for some in-bound tour operators.
PETALING JAYA: Reports have been rife about tourists from China cancelling tours to Malaysia following protests over the handling of the Malaysian Airline MH370 crisis and the recent Semporna kidnapping.
A few major China travel sites and tour operators had imposed a ban on Malaysian Airline (MAS) tickets, among them eLong and Qunar.
“We will continue the ban indefinitely until the Malaysian government and Malaysia Airlines release all information they have in order to find out the truth about the missing flight as soon as possible,” reads the statement by popular Chinese booking site, eLong on their Weibo page.
Here in Malaysia however, it doesn’t seem as serious as depicted. When FMT contacted some in-bound tour operators they said that it was business as usual.
STA Travel and Tour East Malaysia director and general manager Stephen Chan said that this is a passing phase for local tourism.
“It is understandable that those affected by the incident will find it upsetting to visit Malaysia. There have been cancellations from Chinese tourists but it’s only two or three groups.
“Overall, the tourist traffic from China to Malaysia is still going strong,” said Stephen.
Some Sabah tour operators claim they are still doing well despite the media blitz over the recent kidnapping of a Chinese female tourist at Singamata Resort, Sempurna.
Sabah Tourist Guides Association President, Grace Leong when contacted by FMT, said that there had been some cancellations but resorts are operating as usual.
“I have spoken to several tourists from China and surprisingly, they had quite a positive outlook towards holidaying here despite the recent kidnapping.
“Things are not as bad as the recent media reports regarding tourism as there are still Chinese tourists visiting us,” said Grace.