Increase alternate Malaysia-China flights, Matta suggests


THE Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) is discussing with China on increasing alternate flights between Malaysia and China.

This is to boost tourism activities, investment tourism, visa updates, as well as business and trade operations once China relaxes its travel restriction.

Matta president Datuk Tan Kok Liang (picture) said China has a significant impact on driving tourism, not only to Malaysia but to the region as a whole.

“Since the past 13 years, China has been a major commercial partner and despite the headwinds brought by the pandemic, our bilateral trade has increased,” Tan said in a statement today.

He noted that 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 also increased by 34.5% last year to US$176.8 billion. 

For the first four months of 2022, the rise was 19.7%, equivalent to US$61.57 billion in revenue. 

This signals a positive expansion momentum, keeping in mind that both places offer compelling and distinctive attractions.

Among other discussions are exploring Sabah for a brief vacation site option and the possibility of establishing a China-based commercial bank (branch) located in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, to expand business investments, business and trade operations. 

Tan remarked that China Ambassador in Malaysia Ouyang Yujing had responded positively to the possibility.

Tan also suggested featuring China as a Muslim-friendly travel destination during next year’s Matta Fair.

He noted that cities like Xinjiang, Nanning, Ningxia, Gansu, Xian/Shaanxi, Qinghai and Guilin as emerging Muslim-friendly markets.

Ambassador Ouyang said in 2019, 3.1 million Chinese tourists had visited Malaysia, compared to 1.38 million Malaysians who had travelled to China.

He guaranteed that the China Cultural Centre in Kuala Lumpur would participate in Matta for tourism interchange actions.

Tan was 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, we can anticipate a speedy recovery once border restrictions in China are significantly relaxed,” he concluded.