Yup, you heard that right - more Chinese tourists are heading over to Malaysia...
... and if Johor Bahru is your home town, your city in particular will see a spike of Chinese tourists due to the launch of direct AirAsia flights from Guangzhou, every single day
Why? Because the flights from Guangzhou will only be landing at Senai International Airport, Johor Bahru!
The first flight from Guangzhou to JB was on 30 May and happy passengers were greeted with a warm welcome
Datuk Tee Siew Kiong Johor State EXCO of Tourism, Trade and Consumer; Derick Basir, Chief Executive Officer of Senai Airport Terminal Services and Jackson Lee, Johor Bahru Station Head, AirAsia were present to greet the passengers.
The announcement comes only a month after AirAsia introduced direct daily flights from Hat Yai to Johor Bahru
Aireen Omar, CEO of AirAsia said, “We are very proud to receive yet another international inaugural flight into Johor Bahru, this time connecting the people of Guangzhou to experience the southern state of Johor. Just last month, we celebrated the arrival of flights from Hat Yai into Johor Bahru and we look forward to further strengthen our market share in our southern hub."
The tourism industry has yet to recover from the backlash of the MH370 tragedy two years ago. According to the director general of Tourism Malaysia, "We lost about 30% of Chinese tourists."
“The China market has not recovered yet but the gap is closing back when compared to the bigger drop we saw six months ago. We lost about 30 percent of Chinese tourists since April 2014," said Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, the director general of Tourism Malaysia.
Since the government has waived the visa application fee for Chinese tourists in 2014, a total of 4 million tourists are expected to enter Malaysia this year, half of the 8 million target set for 2016
The government has rolled out several measures to facilitate the visa application in order to attract more Chinese tourists to Malaysia. These measures include waiving visa fee and introducing electronic visa. Before this, Chinese tourists had to pay a fee of up to RM120 for a visa application, depending on the urgency of the application (applicants pay a higher fee for quicker processing).
"Malaysia is aiming for 30.5 million tourist arrivals in 2016 and it feels confident this target can be achieved with even four million Chinese tourist arrivals, half of the eight million target it has set for China," said Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz.
To date, AirAsia operates a total of 6 domestic routes, and 7 international routes into Senai International Airport, represented by three airlines – AirAsia, Thai AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia
In celebration of the new route, the airline is offering a limited promotional all-in-fares from as low as RM179 one way, available for booking online from 30 May until 12 June 2016, for the travel period from 31 May to 24 November 2016