GEORGE TOWN, Jan 3 ― The number of Chinese tourists to Penang is expected to increase this year in line with the Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020) and Experience Penang 2020, said Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.
He said that for the past several years, the number of Chinese tourists to Malaysia has been about three million annually but did not disclose the figure for Penang.
“I believe with the vigorous promotion taking place this year to boost tourism, this figure and especially the number of Chinese tourists to Penang will only increase further and this bodes well for greater bilateral ties between Malaysia and China,” he said at a new year dinner hosted by China’s Consul General in Penang, Lu Shiwei, here last night.
Chow said Penang and China have shared deep historical links and this resulted in both sides maintaining a solid and close relationship.
“The close relationship between the Penang state government and China has resulted in the opening up of many direct flight routes which now include direct flights to Guangzhou, Kunming and Changsha-Quanzhou-Penang. The most recent direct flight route is to Shenzhen,” he said.
He said there would be concerted efforts to make a success of Experience Penang 2020, themed “The Diversity of Asia”, especially by showcasing the warmth of Penangites and the beautiful natural surroundings.
“At the same time, the Penang state government has also come up with a blueprint for the development and direction of our tourism industry for the coming 10 years,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lu welcomed the recent announcement by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that Chinese tourists will enjoy 15 days of visa-free travel to Malaysia.
He said the move would improve bilateral cooperation and increase Chinese tourist arrivals in the country.
“I believe that under the strategic leadership, the exchanges and cooperation in various sectors between China and Malaysia will be even stronger and better next year,” he said. ― Bernama