‘China tourists will come’


SOLIDARITY: Envoy says he will bring in visitors when the time is right

KUALA LUMPUR: CHINESE ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang has pledged that his government will do its best to ensure its citizens continue to visit Malaysia.

 Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said yesterday Huang had made the pledge during a courtesy call he made to the ambassador.

“Huang told me that although the  disappearance of the (Malaysia Airlines flight) MH370 would affect the tourism industry in Malaysia, particularly visitors from China, he would try his best to bring in visitors from his country when the time was right.

“The courtesy call to the Chinese embassy was meant to express the nation’s appreciation to Huang for his involvement in giving positive public statements as well as to extend our support and solidarity to the Chinese government, nationals and families of those on board the  flight.”

Nazri added that Huang assured him the 40 years of diplomatic bilateral relations between the two countries were very much honoured by China.

“Huang said we can  withstand this test and assured that one unexpected event will not spoil all the good relations between us all these years,” Nazri said, adding that all Visit Malaysia Year 2014 road shows in China were put on hold as a form of respect to grieving families.

He said following the disappearance of MH370, at least 30,000 tourists from China had cancelled their holiday packages to Malaysia until next year.

Nazri said Malaysia’s focus  was to find closure for the grieving families instead of reaching the target of 28 million visitors next year.

However, Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (Matta) vice-president (inbound) K.L. Tan said the downturn  would  be brief, adding that he was certain arrivals from China would pick up again after a few months.

“This impact is temporary… though the Chinese have been apprehensive of flying MAS, those with confirmed bookings are still making their way here.

“Matta plans to look into alternative plans to engage tourists from China in the future. However, Malaysia’s tourism demands are moving well with those from Japan, Korea and our traditional key markets, such as the United States, Europe and Australia.

“The No. 1 supporters of the industry, countries from Asean such as Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Brunei, are still coming to Malaysia and they make up 75 per cent of the market.”

Tan said Malaysia’s tourism industry needed to be strong, united and able to meet the challenges it faced.

Matta vice-president (outbound) Abdul Rahman Mohd Ali said some airlines had cancelled flights from China to Malaysia while others had reduced the frequency of their flights.

He said Malaysians had opted not to fly with MAS, asking their travel agents to change their flights to other airlines.

“This saddens me as our own citizens are underestimating our national airline because of the isolated event of MH370. MAS is a top airline, worldwide.

“All pilots and crew members are very professional and MAS possesses sophisticated aircraft.”



Read more : New Straits Times

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