Malaysia council wooing Chinese tourists to Johor

GELANG PATAH (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Eat, shop and find a property to buy. This is among tour packages now being offered to Chinese tourists visiting Johor.

Malaysian Tourist Guides Council president Jimmy Leong said these packages were offered by outbound travel agencies in China working with Chinese property developers which had ongoing projects in Johor.

The developers basically worked out a deal with travel agencies to include property dealing as part of its itinerary for a three-day visit to Johor after arriving in Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, he told The Star on Thursday (Dec 29).

Following the tours, he said, would be a developer's sales representative who would promote the property besides taking questions from these potential investors.

Leong said shopping for property was just part of the programme and the major activities of the tour were still sightseeing, shopping and sampling of the local food, which required the service of local tour guides.

He said Chinese tourist arrivals had rebounded after a drastic drop when MH370 disappeared in 2014.

Tourists from China had regained confidence in Malaysia thanks to its easy online visa application and the quality of tour services, he said.

Beijing architect Hong Cheng Jie, 35, said he was in Johor to find a suitable property to buy after hearing about the possibility from some of his friends who had visited Malaysia earlier this year.

"My family is planning to move out of Beijing one day because it is overcrowded and Johor is one of the destinations we are considering," said the father of one.

Zheng Zhou, 31, a tourist from Guangzhou who came to Johor with his wife and father-in-law, said he used to think that the cost of food and other things in Malaysia were higher than China, but was surprised to find otherwise.

"I found the local food too spicy for my liking, but I enjoyed the aroma of the white coffee," he said, adding that he bought packs of the instant beverage as gifts for family and friends.