World Bulletin / News Desk
Malaysia's government is to extend visa exemptions to Chinese tourists until the end of next year, as it continues to strive to repair damage caused by the loss of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Arrivals from China plummeted after Beijing-bound MH370 vanished March 8, 2014. The aircraft was carrying 152 Chinese citizens.
Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz told reporters at the country's parliament building Thursday that the original one-year exemption -- ending December 2016 -- had enjoyed a very encouraging response, so the government had elected to extend it.
Aziz noted that since the MH370 incident sentiment had improved, but support was still needed.
He said since the exemption was introduced, Chinese tourist arrivals had surged 26.3 percent to 1.4 million people, compared to the 1.1 million tourists who arrived from China in the same period last year.
"Given the encouraging response, the government has agreed to extend the visa exemption for Chinese tourists until end of 2017," he said.
Aziz added that Malaysia is on track to meet his ministry's target of attracting 2.02 million tourists from China this year and 4 million by 2020.
"China remains the third largest tourist source for Malaysia, and the encouraging response is expected to continue due to the government's decision to provide visa exemption," he said.
In 2013, 1.79 million Chinese tourists visited Malaysia, with 1.61 million arriving in 2014.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is currently on a six-day visit to China, where he has signed a raft of memoranda of understandings for Chinese investment in the country.Last Mod: 03 Kasım 2016, 09:24