Malaysia hopes to attract China tourists with similar culture

Nazri said the main focus this year will be to draw as many tourists as possible from China. — Picture by Miera ZulyanaKUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — Malaysia is targeting tourists from China due to similar cultures and cuisines between both countries, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said today.

He said the main focus this year will be to draw as many tourists as possible from China.

“As a medium-haul country with a global tourist range of 140 million people making them the largest category of outbound tourists in the world, Malaysia is an attractive destination for them,” he said, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Seni Teknologi and KDU University College.

“Aside from similar cultures, we have everything they could want. Beaches, fresh air, mountains, good resorts, and the like. Our cuisines are also similar, with durians like Musang King a big draw,” Nazri said.

Nazri expressed confidence this would help Malaysia compete with neighbouring countries, which have been providing facilities to entice Chinese tourists to their respective nations, in the coming two years.

“Many of our neighbours are also tourism-oriented who offer products and services similar to ours, and have been providing facilities to entice more Chinese tourists to their nations. So it will definitely have an impact,” he said.

Tourists from Singapore, another major source of tourists, could also be affected by traffic congestion at the Johor-Singapore Causeway.

“Singaporean low-cost airlines have stepped up to offer packages flying tourists to second-tier cities in the region including Palembang and Chiang Mai. For some it is better than waiting six or seven hours just to pass through the Causeway,” Nazri said.

However, he remains hopeful that recent suggestions to improve the traffic flow will help Malaysia maintain its momentum in bringing in Singaporean tourists.

“Even the suggestion by Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for a dedicated traffic channel for buses and coaches to clear their passengers on the Malaysian side can expedite the process and ease congestion,

“I am particularly looking forward to the completion of the High-Speed Rail in a few years time, as it will boost our tourism significantly,” he said. –

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