JELEBU: Malaysia hopes to attract four million tourists from China in 2018, says tourism minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.
He said Malaysia was now seen as a choice destination for Chinese tourists because of the country’s diversity, food, rural tourism and relative proximity.
“Each year, 140 million tourists from China go abroad. Of the total, Malaysia only received 1.6 million tourists last year, which was less than one per cent while Thailand gained eight million.
“But since these tourists are of quality and have money, we feel we should give it our focus…firstly, they are of quality and, secondly, it is only about six hours to here from China,” he told reporters while on a working visit here.
Nazri said the number of Chinese tourists is expected to spike at 2 million this year.
Asked about the impact of the loss of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in 2014, and the recent discovery of several pieces of debris, the minister said Chinese tourists arrivals between January and June this year showed an increase of six per cent, as compared to the same period last year.
MH370 is believed to have been crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, with the loss of 227 passengers, a majority of them Chinese nationals and 12 crew.
Nazri said he was confident and believed that eventually tourists from China will be soothed with our commitment in striving to look for the wreckage of MH370. “Even the arrivals last year was also very good. To date, I am told they (Chinese tourists) are satisfied with what we are doing,” he said.