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Saturday, November 5, 2016
Alitrip expected to bring 8 million Chinese tourists
PETALING JAYA: With 11 new routes, tourist arrivals into Malaysia from China are set for a major boost.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who announced the new routes by the national carrier during the launch of the Alitrip Malaysia Tourism Pavilion (MTP) by e-commerce giant Alibaba MTP at a ceremony in Beijing yesterday, said Malaysia was gearing up for two million Chinese arrivals by the end of this year, and eight million by 2020.
“The Alitrip Malaysia Tourism Pavilion couldn’t have come at a better time for us to achieve this ambitious target,” said the Prime Minister.
The MTP, which uses Alibaba’s online travel platform Alitrip.com, has the potential to reach out to the China market and generate lucrative opportunities for the tourism industry of both countries, said Najib.
From January, the Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong service will be upgraded to a wide-body Airbus A330 aircraft, along with the launch of the Kuala Lumpur- Haikou route.From next year, Malaysia Airlines will fly to eight new destinations and 11 routes, comprising 35 additional flights between Malaysia and China.
This will be followed by a second daily flight to Shanghai Pudong and flights to Nanjing, Haikou, Wuhan and Fuzhou in the second half of next year.
Flights to Chengdu and Chongqing will be introduced from Kuala Lumpur, while flights from Penang and Kota Kinabalu to cities across China including Shanghai Pudong and Shenzhen will follow later.
“The world we live in today is one where transactions are increasingly done online and having this virtual pavilion on a very high-traffic platform gives Malaysia optimum exposure to a vast and thriving market with tremendous capacity for growth.”
Thanking Alibaba chairman Jack Ma, Najib said he was elated Malaysia has a “golden opportunity” to work with Ma and his team at Alibaba.com to promote Malaysia’s tourism industry prominently to the Chinese visitors.
“With the launching of Alitrip Malaysia Tourism Pavilion, Malaysia is now only a click away, and we welcome you to our shores with open arms,” he said.
Najib said the new routes will hopefully spur even more visitors from China to choose Malaysia as their preferred destination.
He said the Chinese population, especially its burgeoning middle-class, had a voracious appetite for travel, with more than 300 million Chinese travelling abroad last year alone, spending over US$200bil (RM840bil) worldwide.
Chinese travellers constituted the largest source of tourists to Malaysia, with 1.7 million arrivals last year and more than 1.4 million arrivals in the first eight months of this year.
“It is now easier for Chinese tourists to travel to Malaysia due to the relaxed visa requirements and the fact that Malaysia continues to be an affordable destination for Chinese tourists, providing greater value for money,” said Najib.
With Alibaba registering a record-breaking sales of US$14.3bil (RM60bil) in a single day during last year’s Singles’ Day Sale, Najib said he was glad that the e-commerce giant had chosen to include the MTP in its Singles’ Day Sale this year to be held on Nov 11.