SEPANG: Malaysia will see more direct flights from major cities in China soon.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said he was in the midst of negotiating deals with Air China and China Eastern Airlines for their planes to fly here from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
The response from the airlines was positive, he said, adding that details - such as the flight schedules - would be discussed in meetings with the companies in China early next month.
The move would help to attract more Chinese tourists to visit Malaysia.
Currently, only China Southern Airlines flies directly to Kuala Lumpur from Guangzhou.
With the rising economy of China and the increase in personal incomes, the Chinese are eager to see the world and this had led to a boom in its outbound tourism industry.
Last year, some 107 million Chinese went abroad and Malaysia - which received more than 1.6 million Chinese tourists - was among their top 10 favourite destinations.
"Malaysia has all the criteria and potential to attract the Chinese, and increasing the number of flights is one of the strategies.
"We are also working closely with the Tourism and Culture Ministry to boost the tourism industry," he said at the launching ceremony of a tourist handbook on Sungai Pelek - a town about 10km from here, yesterday.
Liow - who had a taste of the vegetarian kompyang (a traditional biscuit of the Foochow clan) - said the town, which is about a 30-minute drive from the KL International Airport and KLIA 2 could be the last stop for tourists heading to the airports.
"I have organised an expo in Kuala Lumpur introducing the local delicacies and products from (my constituency) Bentong and I think we can plan for another one together with products from here," he said.
Ng Chok Sin, who was the organising chairman of the project, said apart from the local delicacies such as kompyang, coffee, honey and the homemade preservative-free noodles, there were also many sightseeing spots.
Among the attractions are a century-old temple, longan farm, dragon fruit farm and the wetlands, he added.
Visit "Sungai Pelek Trip" on Facebook for more information on the town.