Thursday 18 Apr 2024
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SEPANG (Jan 22): The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) is targeting the arrival of five million tourists from China this year, compared to 3.1 million in 2019, says Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing.

Tiong said the target was set following China’s decision to reopen its borders on Jan 8, after three years of restrictions following the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are happy to see tourists arriving in the country to drive the tourism sector and the national economy.

“I wish them a warm welcome to Malaysia and hope that tourists from other countries will also visit Malaysia,” he said during a press conference after presenting souvenirs to tourists from Hong Kong and China who arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here on Sunday (Jan 22), in conjunction with the Chinese New Year .

He said the target was expected to be achieved when China would allow group tour services to 20 countries, including Malaysia, to resume on Feb 6.

The other 19 countries listed are Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Singapore, Laos, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Russia, Switzerland, Hungary, New Zealand, Fiji, Cuba and Argentina.

Tiong also assured that every Chinese tourist would undergo a Covid-19 screening test in their country before coming to Malaysia, and urged all Malaysians to continue to prioritise their own health and maintain standard operating procedures to curb the spread of the disease.

“Even if Covid-19 is still there, we have to move on and take care of our own health,” he said while urging various parties to work with Motac to promote tourism and help revitalise the sector.

Recently, the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) was reported to have said it had complete faith in the Ministry of Health to manage the arrival of Chinese tourists, just as they did with other travellers from around the world.

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