Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Tourism Malaysia embarked on the plan to further expand the tourism sector. (BERNAMA)

HONG KONG: Small towns across the country will be promoted as new attractions for tourists from China.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Tourism Malaysia embarked on the plan to further expand the tourism sector.

Zahid said there may be shortcomings such as the lack of access to such areas but with the right approach it has promising potentials.

“Our attractions are not limited to the main cities in Malaysia,” he said in a briefing with the Malaysian media here.

“I have discussed with several low cost carriers to venture into certain destinations based on the number of potential visitors to Malaysia.

“There are some new destinations that can be exploited because there are many Chinese tourists who like the tropical forests and the beaches.”

Zahid said the China National Tourism Administration, a government department that looks into tourism in China, could also help in this.

“The CNTA would normally suggests destinations to tourists on where they could go and this is where they could help,” he explained.

Also present in the briefing were Malaysian Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau Datuk Tengku Sirajuzzaman Tengku Mohamed Ariffin and Consul Grace Rebekah Teh.

The move to embark on the new plan to attract more tourists from China especially those from the Special Administrative Region here follows the signing of the Asean-Hong Kong-China Free Trade Agreement signed in Manila on Sunday.

Earlier Zahid said a total of 1.8 million tourists from China, excluding Hong Kong and Macau, visited Malaysia as of Oct 31.

It would be impossible to meet the target of 3 million tourists from China, with a balance of 1.2 million, before the end of the year, he said.

Zahid said however he was optimistics the number would increase the next two years especially among high-spending tourists in light of the Visit Malaysia 2020 promotion that will be carried out.

“Tourism Malaysia will be working closely with CNTA especially on the transportation network in the form of scheduled or chartered flights.”

On business tourism Zahid said the MICE or Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibition sector would need to step up its promotions, as early as three or four years in advance for more impact.

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