KUALA LUMPUR, 5 May: The Tourism Ministry is confident of reaching its target of three million inbound Chinese tourists this year after the introduction of easier visa facilities, says Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.
The Tourism and Culture Minister said the promotional efforts made by his ministry had increased the influx of Chinese tourists in the first three months of this year.
“We target to have four million tourists next year and eight million in 2020, this year we target about three million.
“And in the first three months, I have been informed that there was a significant number of tourists coming in, compared to the first three months last year,” Mohamed Nazri said during a press conference after he launched the new smart tourism digital mobile application called HARTAR at Malaysian Tourism Centre (MaTIC) here today.
Malaysia had introduced the Electronic Travel Registration & Information (eNTRI) and e-visa facilities in March last year for tourists from China.
ENTRI service is for those on short trips not exceeding 15 days, with processing fees of 160 yuan (RM102), while e-visa is for applicants with a stay not exceeding 30 days and required to pay processing fees of 200 yuan (RM128).
Nazri added Sabah is the most popular destination for the tourists, due to its distance and attractions.
“Sabah is actually the main place for Chinese tourists to come in, because of the blue sky, beaches, warm seas, food, people, culture and its accessibility.
“From Hong Kong to Sabah it takes about three and a half hours, so they like it, they can only come during the weekend, it’s like us driving to Penang,” he said.
Commenting on HARTAR, Nazri said the mobile application will serve as a One-Stop Tourism Centre where tourists can browse for all kinds of tourism related information, Tour Packages, Hotel, Public Transportation Tour Guide Searching, Tourists Services, Ticketing, Medical Tourism, Eco-Parks Art Gallery and more.
“This platform also lists and promotes NGO’s Cultural Activities, Association Tourism Activities, Public Tourism Activities and commercial tourism activities.
“This will enable our Inbound and Domestic Tourists to browse and join the event accordingly,” he said.
— THE SUN