Charter Flights From Wuhan To Help Boost China Tourist Arrivals, Says Yen Yen

SEPANG, July 10 (Bernama) -- One of the projected 158 thrice-weekly charter flights over a year-long period from Wuhan, China, arrived at the KL International Airport early today with 143 tourists.

Tourism Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Dr Ng Yen Yen was at the airport at 1.45 am, along with Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board director-general Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, to personally welcome the visitors.

Ng said the charter flights from Wuhan to Kuala Lumpur had been worked out as part of the Malaysian government's effort to boost tourist arrivals from China following a drop in visitors after the disappearance of the MH370 Malaysia Airlines' Kuala Lumpur-Beijing flight on March 8.

A majority of the passengers on the Boeing 777-200 aircraft, which had 239 people on board, were Chinese nationals.

Ng said China tourist arrivals dropped by 19.5 per cent in April following the incident.

The Wuhan-Kuala Lumpur charter flights, which commenced on June 30, will run three times a week up to June 29 next year, with a projection for 158 flights. The arrangement has been worked out by Tourism Malaysia, Hubei Wanda New Airlines Travel Services and China Eastern Airlines.

Ng said the flights were scheduled for Monday, Wednesday and Friday and were expected to bring an estimated 26,386 Chinese nationals and help Malaysia gain RM76.2 million in terms of tourist receipts up to June 29 next year.

"The charter flights are part of a tour package sold by Hubei Wanda New Airlines Travel Services that will take the Chinese tourists on a tour of Kuala Lumpur, Melaka and Johor Baharu.

"Columbia Leisure Sdn Bhd is the official tour operator which will handle the group in Malaysia," she told reporters after welcoming the Chinese tourists.

Ng also said that Tourism Malaysia started a series of familiarisation trips for chief executive officers of 10 major tour operators in China on April 26.

"Tourism Malaysia's promotional efforts have been shifted to second- and third-tier cities in China," she said.

Among the positive outcomes of these efforts was the agreement for Hubei Wanda New Airlines Travel Services to offer thrice-weekly Wuhan-Kuala Lumpur charter flights for the duration of one year, she said.

Ng also said that discussions were underway for Air China to resume its direct flights between Beijing and Kuala Lumpur.


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