Malaysia: Most pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for tourists from China — Bakhtiar

The Borneo Post - - SOCIETY - — Ber­nama

BALIK PU­LAU: Malaysia has be­come the most pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for tourists from China, hav­ing recorded the high­est num­ber of tourist ar­rivals from the repub­lic, says Deputy Tourism, Arts and Cul­ture Min­is­ter Muham­mad Bakhtiar Wan Chik.

He said tourist ar­rivals from China showed an in­crease of 20 to 30 per cent, fend­ing off al­le­ga­tions that the num­ber of Chi­nese tourists vis­it­ing Malaysia had dwin­dled.

“There is a sharp in­crease of tourists from China, with statis­tics show­ing the num­ber of their ar­rival up to Septem­ber this year is as much as the to­tal num­ber of Chi­nese tourists who vis­ited Malaysia last year.

“In 2017, a to­tal of 2.2 mil­lion Chi­nese tourists vis­ited Malaysia, and for this year, up to Oc­to­ber, the num­ber has reached 2.5 mil­lion and we ex­pect the num­ber to reach three mil­lion as tar­geted this year,” he told re­porters at the Bo­ria Fun Ride flag-off cer­e­mony held in con­junc­tion with the 2018 Bo­ria Fes­ti­val here yes­ter­day.

Hence, Bakhtiar said, the claim by cer­tain quar­ters that Chi­nese na­tion­als were avoid­ing Malaysia was not true.

“They are mis­taken when they said Chi­nese tourists are avoid­ing Malaysia since Pakatan Hara­pan (PH) took over the gov­ern­ment’s ad­min­is­tra­tion. The statis­tics showed oth­er­wise,” he added.

Bakhtiar, who is Balik Pu­lau MP, said China topped the list with the high­est num­ber of tourist ar­rivals in Malaysia, fol­lowed by tourists from Sin­ga­pore, In­done­sia and Brunei.

He said the num­ber of tourists from Korea had also in­creased, with statis­tics show­ing more than half a mil­lion Korean tourists had vis­ited Malaysia so far this year, com­pared with 484,528 peo­ple last year.

He ex­pected the over­all tourist ar­rivals for this year to be 26.4 mil­lion, ex­ceed­ing last year’s tar­get of 25.9 mil­lion tourists.

Ac­cord­ing to Bakhtiar, the tourism sec­tor is im­por­tant as 3.4 mil­lion work­ers are in­volved in the in­dus­try.

On the Bo­ria Fes­ti­val, to run un­til to­day at the Balik Pu­lau Polytech­nic, he said the art of Bo­ria-singing needed to be re­vi­talised so that it would not be­come ex­tinct due to its cul­tural sig­nif­i­cance, es­pe­cially for the Pe­nang peo­ple.

“This is part of our ef­forts to re­vi­talise Bo­ria so it would not be­come ex­tinct.

“It used to be per­formed only by men, now it also in­volves fe­male per­form­ers. It is hoped that by pro­mot­ing Bo­ria, we can help to pre­serve the state’s cul­tural her­itage,” said Bakhtiar.

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