PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The number of tourists from China has surged since March, with most direct flights from China to Malaysia fully booked.
It is good news for the country as it heads towards Visit Malaysia 2020, but industry players are of the view that there should be additional flights, flexible visa policies and better infrastructure to cater to the growing numbers.
"We see that the number of tourists from China has been going up since March. Our members are welcoming 150 buses per day from Changi Airport in Singapore. This was up from 70 buses last year over the same period," said Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association president Uzaidi Udanis.
Mr Uzaidi said more flights from China to Malaysia were needed to cater to the growing demand, as most direct flights out of China into Malaysia were full.
Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents president Tan Kok Liang said there should be more flights from China to Malaysia, especially from tier II cities such as Changchun, Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Fuzhou, Nanjing, Nanning, Ningbo and Xiamen, among others.
"There should be more packages based on clients' needs," he said.
Datuk Tan said a flexible visa policy was needed to attract more tourists.
"The main drawback to more flights was Malaysia's limited approval of double entry visas for Chinese tourists."
"Most Chinese tourists usually visit two to three countries in South-East Asia, including Malaysia and Singapore. If they fly in and out of the same city, they will enjoy lower airfares. If they fly to Malaysia, holding a one-time entry visa, they cannot come back to Malaysia again after travelling to Singapore. Many Chinese tourists prefer to fly to Singapore as the country grants them multiple entry visas (one year)," he said.