KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) says outright calls to close the country's borders to Chinese travellers are irrational and irresponsible.
Hence, MATTA called for certain parties to stop overreacting to the news that China would once again allow its citizens to resume outbound travel.
"Outright calls to shut our borders to Chinese travelers at this very early stage are irrational and irresponsible. Since the re-opening of our borders in early 2022, our country has been making steady, positive progress towards recovery and any knee-jerk reaction to re-introduce restrictions without proper planning risks undoing all that we have achieved," MATTA President, Datuk Tan Kok Liang said today.
"MATTA has complete faith in the Ministry of Health Malaysia in managing Chinese arrivals just as they have done with other travelers from all over the world," he added.
Tan said the government's decision should balance the health and wellbeing of the people and Malaysia's reputation as a safe destination as well as the economic ramifications of its policies in this matter.
It must also benchmark with current global practices while considering its own capacity and limitations rather than bow to lobbyist groups.
Tan said data from Tourism Malaysia indicated that 3.1 million Chinese tourists visited Malaysia in 2019, making it the country's third largest source market for international arrivals.
Initial estimates indicate that 1.2 million Chinese will travel to Malaysia in 2023 which is expected to generate RM 3.6 billion in tourism receipts.
"Bear in mind that Chinese travellers won't arrive all at once which will allow the government to monitor and manage the situation as it develops. To that end the national travel association will provide feedback to help the government tackle and manage this process as it unfolds," he said.