8 January 2023
Tourism, arts and culture minister Tiong King Sing has proposed special lanes at airports and assigning Mandarin-speaking officers to assist them.
Tourism, arts and culture minister Tiong King Sing has outlined the ministry’s plans to ensure the smooth arrival of Chinese tourists to Malaysia.
Tiong said the measures would not compromise on health and safety amid the surge of Covid-19 cases in China.
In a Facebook post today, he said the tourism, arts and culture ministry (Motac) will be stationing its officers that are fluent in Mandarin at all airports in the country that welcome international arrivals. He said they will assist Chinese tourists who cannot converse in English.
He added that Motac will also be working closely with Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), which manages the airports, and the customs department to expedite the clearance process for these tourists after arrival.
With that in mind, Tiong proposed that special lanes be made available at these airports to speed up the arrival process of Chinese tourists.
“I express my gratitude to the immigration department for agreeing to open special lanes to speed up the arrival process for travellers entering our country, as well as expediting the customs inspection process,” he said.
He stressed that the measures will continue to take into account the health status of arrivals from China, and hoped that concerns among international tourists over Malaysia’s strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) would be allayed.
Yesterday, Tiong said it was neither appropriate nor effective to tighten the SOPs for the entry of travellers from other countries, including China.
He said the people’s safety and health would remain a priority for Motac. However, when it came to the entry of travellers from various countries, including China, it was important to strike a balance between the people’s well-being and the country’s economic interests.
Meanwhile, MAHB said it was working closely with the health ministry to ensure the safety of all travellers.
It said last year, about 143,000 international aircraft movements were registered in the country, with 111,000 recorded at KLIA alone.
“With the latest easing of travel restrictions by the Chinese government, we expect the number of international aircraft movements to increase even more in 2023.
“There have been both inbound and outbound China flights operating at KLIA since April 2022 and these had gradually increased in frequency in the last quarter of the year,” it said in a statement today.
MAHB said nine flights from China were expected at KLIA and two at klia2 today. It said the airports will be receiving an average of 10 flights daily in the coming week.
It added that 16 shuttle buses will run 24/7 between both airports as an alternative to the Aerotrain service.
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