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Effective response to market dynamics needed to draw more Chinese visitors, says MATTA

By Zakaria Damit

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) is concerned with the drop in Chinese tourist arrivals to Malaysia during the recent “Golden Week” in China.

“Both the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) as well as the private sector need to take stock and respond to the changing trends and preferences of Chinese tourists. In addition to our efforts, over 100 countries are also wooing Chinese tourists and they are simply spoilt for choice,” said MATTA President Datuk Tan Kok Liang.

Datuk Tan Kok Liong. SNT File Pix

“The China outbound travel recorded an estimated 10 per cent growth during the recent “Golden Week” with Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam recording more Chinese tourists. In addition, 56 per cent of all Chinese tourist opted for trips lasting more than a week, with long haul trips to Europe, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand being the most popular,” said Tan.

“We need to revisit our tourism fundamentals to stay competitive, and this include a review of our visa policy, welcome experience at the airport, more outlets with mobile payment facilities such as Alipay and WeChat Pay signs to make them feel at home and providing them a tour experience rather than the traditional photo shoot sightseeing.

“The Chinese tourists are getting increasingly sophisticated, looking for in-depth local experiences and unique travel activities. Tourists today especially from the China region are looking for new or fresh experiences. Malaysia needs to up its game in identifying what different markets want and promoting it accordingly.”

“Travel industry players particularly inbound agents are very adept at identifying market needs and the creativity to capture the market share. The government should focus more on incentivising inbound agents to supplement broader government efforts. This should also help lower the promotion budget and at the same time provide direct stimulus to the economy,” said Tan.

“While we acknowledge the current Government has a massive debt to repay, but somehow MOTAC needs to continue its marketing and promotion activities aggressively in China and be given adequate funding in tourism infrastructure.

“A large extent of the local economy is highly dependent on Chinese tourists and we hope the Government will prioritise funding and tourism incentives for this sector,” said Tan.-SabahNewsToday