By Celeste Fong
BEIJING: One million Chinese. That's Tourism Malaysia's target this year which coincides with the 35th anniversary of Malaysia-China ties.
Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said Malaysia would concentrate on China's big tourism potential to boost the economy in the current global economic downturn.
She said China was an important market for Malaysia and tourism was the second largest earner.
"We hope to break the one million tourist arrival mark from China," she said after meeting her counterpart Shao Qiwei, chairman of China's National Tourism Administration (CNTA) on Thursday.
During Visit Malaysia Year 2007, Chinese tourists totalled 783,788. This rose to 949,864 last year.
Dr Ng added that 2009 was a meaningful year for Malaysia and China.
"This year is special for both countries as we celebrate the 35th anniversary of diplomatic ties.
"Our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak is the son of second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak (who made the ice-breaking visit to China in 1974)," she said.
Shao commended the ties between both countries in politics, the economy, culture and other aspects and agreed to work closer especially in tourism.
He said the region should further strengthen cooperation for a win-win situation for all.
"Not too long ago, our Premier Wen Jiabao pointed out the importance of expediting the process of tourism development to boost economic growth, consumption and employment," he added.
-The Star/Asia News Network