China and Malaysia ink tourism cooperation deal


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Tourism between China and Malaysia is expected to increase with the newly-cemented partnership between MATTA and the China Muslim Travel Association (CMTA).

Tourism Malaysia acting director-general Datuk Azizan Noordin said China had consistently been among the top 10 tourism generating markets for Malaysia.

“Visitor traffic increased by 10.8% last year, from 1.02 million visitors in 2009 to 1.13 million visitors in 2010.

“With the collaboration between these two associations, we expect 1.25 million visitors from China this year,” he said yesterday after witnessing the inking of the memorandum of cooperation between MATTA and CMTA.

The memorandum will allow for closer collaboration between the two associations with a focus on identifying and removing barriers for Muslim travellers and increasing the participation of MATTA and CMTA members in both countries’ travel fairs.

“From 2012 to 2016, Ramadan will start earlier in the year, during summer in China and the Middle East.

“This, in turn, is expected to make their fasting period longer than the usual 3am to 8pm.

“In contrast, as a country on the Equator, Malaysia’s fasting period is constantly about 12 hours.

“We hope to capitalise on this to encourage travel during the fasting month in the upcoming years,” Azizan said.

MATTA president Datuk Mohd Khalid Harun said members were already taking part in tour exhibitions in China, but with the MOC, MATTA would invite more members to take part.

“With an untapped market of over 30 million Chinese Muslims and millions of Malaysian Muslims as well, this is bound to bring a boon to the inbound and outbound markets for both countries.

“MATTA has always been open to such collaborations and we believe this will benefit travellers between Malaysia and China, both for Muslim and non-Muslim tourists,” he said.

CMTA vice-president Edward Tay said the association had previously worked with MATTA members on a smaller scale and looked forward to closer collaborations in the future.

“Muslims in the country have prospered and now have the resources to travel and find out more about other Muslim cultures across the globe.

“Malaysia is famous in China for its safe environment and friendly people. I am sure our people will be pleased to begin their adventures in this country,” he said.