Asia’s tourism giants appear to be on the rebound, but not because of the tourists we’re used to. An impressive twenty-eight percent increase in the amount of Chinese tourists visiting Malaysia has the country’s tourism board ecstatic at its marketing efforts. Malaysia is one of several East Asian states to have invested heavily in tourism advertising over the past five years, particularly in China.
The country is also home to a large domestic Chinese population. While Malaysia remains under the control of its native Malay government, the country’s large Chinese population and consistent culture make it a simple holiday destination for Chinese citizens. With a semi-shared language and similar customs, the Southeast Asian country is becoming more popular with package tourists.
It’s an improvement that’s bilateral – China’s borders have seen an increase in Malaysian visitors over the past year, many of whom visit the giant country to see family and friends. The countries share a great deal of cultural similarities, making the somewhat lengthy journey one that’s steeped with familiar sights and customs. Arrivals between the two countries recently hit one-million.
Malaysia’s increasingly wealthy population is also taking kindly to Taiwan, with direct holidays on the island relatively inexpensive due to low-cost fares and package deals. While businesses fear the relationship between Taipei and Kuala Lumpur could worsen economic development with mainland China, most economists are sceptical that increased tourism could affect Chinese investment.
As the two country’s have both experienced rapid economic growth over the last two decades, the increase in tourism spending could pave the way for further investment and development. China has previously voiced its interest in cooperating with ASEAN countries on tourism and infrastructure projects – a potential multi-billion dollar partnership between the high-growth nations.