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Published on : Monday, June 8, 2015
Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Hamzah Rahmat applauds the recent initiatives made by Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz for submitting yet another request to the Cabinet to allow China tourists into Malaysia without the need for visas.
“Waiving visas i.e. “visa free” does not mean our country will be flooded by China tourists as they have the options to visit many other countries that are welcoming them with open arms,”said Hamzah.“The figures disclosed by the Tourism Minister are startling. For the first three months of this year, only 350,000 tourists from China visited Malaysia whereas Thailand received over two million.”
“For the past almost one year and especially in January 2015, MATTA had cautioned that Malaysia will stand to lose 540,000 China tourists for granting “free visa” only but not “visa free:, and we may get only 1.76 million China tourists instead of 2.3 million.” There is a significant different between a “free visa” and “visa free”.
“At the current rate, Malaysia is expected to receive only 1.4 million China tourists compared to over 8 million for Thailand. We simply cannot afford to continue dragging our feet.”“Total visitors arrival to Malaysia last year was 27.4 million and we are aiming for 29.4 million this year, a rise of 7.3%. Instead, there was a drop of 8.6% for the first quarter, with a huge drop of 27.1% from China.”
“Alarm bells are ringing at our inbound tourism industry. We must have more China visitors in order to achieve the target of RM89 billion in tourism receipts for MyFest 2015.” Our tourism industry is already in “ICU” these past months. “Look at our hotel average room rate. If we are doing so well, our room rates will speaks for itself. Check the room rate in Singapore” Hamzah lamented.“China tourists are the world’s biggest spenders and they are known to empty the shelves of luxury stores in Paris, Rome and New York. Last year, 2.2 million China tourists spent a staggering RM86 billion in the United States or a whopping RM40, 000 per visitor!”