KUALA LUMPUR, 25 July 2022: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) is confident that once China relaxes its travel restrictions, tourism between Malaysia and China would inevitably resume. During the meeting between MATTA and H.E. Ambassador Ouyang, who represents the People's Republic of China in Malaysia, H.E. Ambassador Ouyang Yujing confirmed this as well. At the meeting, the MATTA team was led by its President, Datuk Tan Kok Liang.
The ambassador noted that in 2019, 3.1 million Chinese tourists had visited Malaysia, compared to 1.38 million Malaysians who had been to China. His Excellency believes that the number of visitors to both countries will continue to expand significantly, keeping in mind that both places offer compelling, distinctive attractions. In order to promote both destinations, the Ambassador promised that the China Cultural Centre based in Kuala Lumpur would expedite its involvement with MATTA and further encourage tourism exchange and product updates.
Prior to the pandemic, on January 19, 2020, MATTA had planned a number of mini-shows to mark the Malaysia-China Year of Culture and Tourism. The vice minister of the People's Republic of China's ministry of culture and tourism was there to commemorate the occasion of the yearlong celebration.
An invitation from MATTA has also been extended for the Ambassador to consider China as a preferred travel destination for Malaysians to attend the national and state MATTA Fair in 2023 because Muslim travel to China is an emerging market remarked Tan during the exchange of ideas. Xinjiang, Nanning, Ningxia, Gansu, Xian/Shaanxi, Qinghai, and Guilin are included on the list.
MATTA believes that China has a significant impact on driving tourism to the region as a whole, not only Malaysia. For the past 13 years, China has been Malaysia's leading commercial partner, and even during the brutal height of Covid-19, bilateral trade increased.
China-Malaysia trade climbed 5.7% to US$131.16 billion (RM579.72 billion) last year despite the pandemic's hurdles. Malaysia and China's bilateral trade volume increased by 34.5 percent last year to US$176.8 billion (RM781.45 billion). For the first four months of 2022, the rise is 19.7%, equivalent to US$61.57bn in revenue (RM272.14bil).
"Other topics discussed with H.E. Ambassador Ouyang include increasing the number of direct flights between China and Malaysia in line with the aspirations of the people of both countries, visa updates, and investments in tourism," added Tan.
The President of MATTA also seized the opportunity to extend an invitation to His Excellency to have a brief vacation in Sabah and climb the renowned Mount Kinabalu. In light of the expanding business investments, business, and trade operations between the state and China, Tan suggested that the Ambassador explore the possibility of a China-based commercial bank (branch) being established in Kota Kinabalu. Tan remarked that the Ambassador had responded positively.
The Honorary Secretary General Mohammad Faeez, Vice President Outbound Cynthia Tan, Vice President Inbound Ganneesh Ramaa, and EXCO Member North Asia Jimmy Thoo are other members of the MATTA team. Counsellor Zhang Zhen, and Consul Zhou Zihan, representing the Chinese embassy, are present.
We are certain that as long as the Covid-19 situation is managed effectively, the tourism industry will continue to expand, aided by the government’s assistance in both policy and marketing. With the strong support and facilitation efforts overseen by His Excellency Ouyang Yujing, we can anticipate a speedy recovery once border restrictions in China are significantly relaxed, Tan concluded.
DATUK TAN KOK LIANG PGDK, M.A Tourism, CA (M), FCTIM, CHA