|Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz (Bernama file pix)|
He said the target was realistic as Malaysia was now seen as a choice destination for the Chinese who liked the country's diversity including food, rural tourism and relative proximity.
"Each year, 140 million tourists from China go abroad. Of the total, Malaysia only received 1.6 million tourists last year, which was less than one per cent while Thailand gained eight million.
"But since these tourists are of quality and have money, we feel we should give it our focus...firstly, they are of quality and, secondly, it is only about six hours to here from China," he told reporters while on a working visit to identify existing and potential tourism products here today.
Mohamed Nazri said Malaysia expected the number of Chinese tourists to spike to two million tourists this year.
On whether the discovery of several pieces of debris from the vanished Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 aircraft had impacted Chinese tourist arrivals, the minister said their arrival between January and June this year showed an increase of six per cent, as compared to the same period last year.
"Even the arrival last year was also very good. So, I am confident and believe eventually, the tourists from China will be soothed with our commitment in striving to look for the wreckage of MH370. To date, I am told they (Chinese tourists) are satisfied with what we are doing," he said.
Flight MH370, with 239 passengers and crew, went off the radar after departing from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014.
Meanwhile, Mohamed Nazri wants all districts in the country to set up a tourism committee to identify potential areas for development as tourism destinations.