SEPANG, Feb 11 — Tourism Malaysia are confident of achieving the 27.3 million foreign tourist arrivals this year due to several supporting factors, including the government’s charter flight matching grant incentive, Visa Liberalisation programme and increasing tourism promotion activities abroad.
Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Dr Ammar Abd Ghapar said last year more than 20 million foreign tourists came to Malaysia, surpassing the targetted 19.1 million tourist arrivals.
“We encourage more Charter Flights to Malaysia and we continue to focus on such efforts because we understand the need for new routes and more frequency flights to achieve the desired target.
“The charter flight matching grant is crucial to increase the frequency of flights to Malaysia. We are also hoping for International Border Flight Grant for Charter Flights to airlines so as to encourage more inbound Charter flights.
“If we have such a grant, we can expect more Charter Flights to Malaysia, not only to Kuala Lumpur but also to Kota Kinabalu, Penang and Tawau,” he told reporters after receiving passengers from the maiden Malaysia Airlines Kuala Lumpur-Shenyang Taoxian International Airport, Shenyang, Liaoning, China flight with Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, here today.
Ammar said grants for special international charter flights would have to be based on a number of terms and conditions like the frequency of flights, addition of new routes and the usage of charter flights.
“Any airline that wished to add frequency of flights, say previously there was two flights a week but they plan to increase to four flights a week, must be given incentives.
“We will increase efforts to add more programmes that we have for charter flights because we see a positive impact in the arrival of foreign tourists,” he said adding that about 40 additional Charter Flights to Malaysia were recorded since January.
Speaking of the Visa Liberalisation programme, Ammar said effective December 1, the government had allowed Visa Free entry to Chinese and Indian nationals, thus witnessing a huge jump in the number of tourist arrivals from China.
“The announcement of visa free for Chinese travellers effective December 1, 2023 has spurred enquiries and bookings to Malaysia from China.
“Trip.com has reported that Malaysia will receive 53.9 per cent increase in inbound travel to Malaysia for the Chinese New Year in 2024 as compared to last year,” he said ading that Tourism Malaysia has targeted about 200,000 tourist arrivals from China a month.