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    HomeNewsMalaysiaMoves to attract more Chinese travellers to Sabah

    Moves to attract more Chinese travellers to Sabah

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    KOTA KINABALU: Despite years of promotional efforts, many Chinese nationals remain unaware of the breathtaking beauty and attractions of Sabah, according to Datuk Christina Liew, the state Tourism, Culture, and Environment minister.

    During her recent official visit to Xi’an, Shanghai, and Beijing, Liew discovered that when Malaysia is mentioned, young Chinese adults typically only associate it with Kuala Lumpur.

    Liew gathered this information from tourism players and industry experts whom she met during her trip. However, she maintains optimism that this perception will change following her meetings with government officials, airline representatives, and industry leaders to boost international tourism.

    She said in a statement, “I am upbeat about the outcome of my meetings with stakeholders in the key cities and anticipate a further increase in the number of Chinese tourist arrivals in Sabah. I believe that if we remain focused and collaborate to enhance our tourism activities, we can both benefit from reciprocal tourism and promote each other’s interests.”

    In light of the resurgence in outbound tourism, Liew proposed the introduction of a chartered flight from Shanghai to Tawau in the near future to attract more Chinese tourists to Sabah.

    Liew warmly welcomed AirAsia’s proposal to establish an office in Beijing to aggressively promote Sabah as a preferred tourist destination. Additionally, she suggested leveraging social media platforms like TikTok to create content that appeals to young people and generates publicity for the state.

    Frank Tang Ting, the General Manager of AirAsia China, revealed that prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the airline operated 28 direct scheduled flights weekly from China to Kota Kinabalu. Currently, it offers 36 direct scheduled flights weekly from China (including Hong Kong) to Kota Kinabalu.

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    During her visit to China, Liew also hosted a lunch meeting with various key individuals, including Tang, Tourism Malaysia Beijing Director Razali Tuan Omar, Malaysia Airlines Beijing Sales Manager Carl Wang, Xiao Peng from Beijing A-mei Express International Travel Service, Claudia Wang from Silk Road International Arts Centre, and Hu Jian Rong of Zheng Tong Guang Mai Travel.

    During the meeting, Liew stressed the importance of simplifying the visa application process for Chinese tourists planning to visit Malaysia. Razali informed her that the number of visas issued to Chinese tourists significantly increased after international borders reopened, from 72,975 visas in March to 87,191 visas in April and 100,165 visas in May this year.

    Liew commended Malaysia Airlines’ proposal to allocate 20 diving permits per flight, which serves as an incentive for diving enthusiasts.

    Throughout her visits, Liew also took the opportunity to promote Kunak, a picturesque town on Sabah’s east coast, as a hidden gem and another exciting tourist destination. She added, “Interestingly, Kunak boasts an undiscovered diving spot with marine life that rivals that of the famous Sipadan Island.”



    Credit: The Star : News Feed

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