• Fri
  • Aug 29, 2014
  • Updated: 5:19pm
Malaysia Airlines flight 370
NewsAsia
Flight MH370

Chinese tourists boycott Malaysia in wake of MH370 disappearance

Chinese tourists are shunning Malaysia, with some even calling for a boycott, in the aftermath of the disappearance of flight MH370

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 March, 2014, 7:52pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 March, 2014, 9:41am

Mainland travel agencies have reported a sharp drop in the number of Chinese visitors to Malaysia.

Some mainlanders, led by celebrities, were also calling for a tourism boycott to the popular holiday destination following the disappearance of Flight 370 on March 8.

“In the two weeks after the incident, we have seen the number of clients from northern China going to Malaysia declining 50 per cent compared with the same period last year, including group and independent travellers,” said Dun Jidong, a senior marketing manager at Ctrip.com, China’s largest travel booking website.

Watch: Chinese relatives demand 'truth' over MH370 crash

Three top travel agencies, China International Travel Service, China Youth Travel Service and BTG International Travel and Tours, have reported similar declines.

“The impact has spread to most destinations in Southeast Asia,” said a travel agent with the China International who declined to be named. “Many of our travel packages include Malaysia and Thailand and people are reluctant to go there not only because of the missing plane, but also Thailand’s political turmoil.”

But at a resort in Kota Kinabalu, the seaside capital of Sabah state in northeast Malaysia, business was unaffected, at least for now, an employee said.

“Most of our clients have booked their rooms one or two months in advance,” said Aaron Chang, a project manager at KK-Suites Residence. “We might see the real impact in one or two months.”

According to Tourism Malaysia, 1.79 million Chinese visited the country last year, a nearly 15 per cent annual increase.

China is the third largest source of visitors for Malaysia, in which tourism is the sixth contributor of its gross domestic product.

Luo Juan, a senior analyst with market research company Forward Information, predicted Chinese arrivals would this year drop by 20-40 per cent, representing 400,000 to 800,000 tourists.

If each tourist spent an average of 10,000 yuan during the stay, the total loss could rise to 4-8 billion yuan, Luo said.

“A recovery might only be seen after about one year,” she said.

It remains to be seen what effect the boycott calls will have on the industry.

Chen Kun, a popular film star in China, urged people to avoid Malaysia in a weibo posting.

“I … will start a boycott from my inner heart on any commercials and travel relating to Malaysia. This will last … until the Malaysian government takes down their clown-like mask and tells the truth,” he said.

Chen has more than 70 million followers on weibo and his post has been republished over 70,000 times, drawing nearly 30,000 comments, many of them supportive.

Some travellers were cancelling their bookings. Wang Dezhang, a businessman in Shanghai, said his wife and daughter, together with 14 other parents and children, changed their plans to visit Malaysia in July.

“We have booked everything, but still decided to cancel the trip as everybody is concerned about the safety issue,” he said.

China Youth Travel Service has stopped collaborating with Malaysia Airlines on package tours in Kota Kinabalu and promised to a full refund to any customers who wanted to cancel.

“After the MH370 incident happened, the number of travel inquiries to Malaysia has almost dropped to zero, although it is the off-season to go to Malaysia,” said Ge Lei, a marketing director with China Youth Travel Service.

The airline has suspended Flight 318/319, which replaced MH 370/371, and service between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing would be put on hold beginning May 2. Some industry insiders say it was due to a lack of passengers.

Illustration: Lau Ka-kuen

 

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This article is now closed to comments

james.mcfarlann
Chinese nationals are the most rude and selfish I have ever met. You'd think Israelis are rude, wait until you meet Chinese. ****mh370truth.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/mh370-extreme-chinese-selfishness-kills-malaysia-china-relation/
sudo.kudo.7
I think Malaysia is better off running by Chinese than Malay. Singapore is one good example.
sudo.kudo.7
The incident has proved that Malaysian Government is inept and incapable of handling any event like this. People who like to trash talk in this forum have never been to China. Please do yourself a favour to check out Beijing and Shanghai. It is far more modern and advanced than Kuala Lumpur. Your country is mismanaged and corrupted. In essence, you need the "Yuan" more than the Chinese's willingness to travel to this third world country. No wonder Philippines and Malaysia are calling themselves "brotherhood". We just can't change the mindset of Third World Countries. Once a third world country, always a third word quality. Good on Chinese, please boycott Malaysia.
james.mcfarlann
Wow, wow, wow, hello there delusional Chinese citizen, I bet you're so brainwashed by your communist government that you don't even know YOUR COUNTRY is NOT a developed country, you are included in the "Third World" countries. I bet your textbooks say China is the most advanced country in the world. My oh my, how delusional you people are.
I can't blame you really, people who've never VOTED usually don't know how to think for themselves. Good thing I wasn't born in that pit of hell where everyone takes a pee in the street whenever they feel like it. "More advanced"? Haha, no thanks if I had to see someone pees on the street on broad daylight every 5 seconds.
pimehk
I wonder why the newspapers in Hong Kong don't say much about the anguish and suffering of the relatives of the non-Chinese passengers and crew (about half of the people on the aircraft) aboard the MH370.
deekay.rianah
Good! China people, they are filthy, rude, no sense of empathy, cheaters and the list goes on. Good that china has reduced its tourism to Malaysia. Its a good news for our Islands ,beaches, Hotels, Restaurant, Parks and etc being all clean!!
hongkiejj@malaysiaboleh
folks, all these bickering, accusation and shouting are needlessly flaming unnecessary hatred and counter productive.
exactly what have we all achieve here but sheer stupidity and more garbage.
it is understandable the grief and pain suffered by those relatives are bad enough and it takes time to heal. I have no words to describe the suffering but it is karma indeed.
I do admit our govt could have done better but it is always easier said than done.
to simply cast us malaysian collectively as villians or inhuman or to boycott anything Malaysian is just not the way to move forward.
now is definitely not the time to lay blame or point fingers but to pray together as one and hope for the best.
lifeofpee
A destination with no Chinese tourists? That'd be a BIG draw for the rest of the world!
julszfredly
Yes, please do so.
Malaysia will be peaceful without China tourists scream to each other even when they are not fighting nor talk loudly as if their friends are like 1 to 2 miles away from them while their friends only beside them! hah! china people don't like to queue and they spit anywhere too! uncivilised behaviour huh... or maybe they should boycott other countries too, there's once when I was relaxing at the beach in Bali and a group of China people was there too and they talk very loud and all I can say was (knowing they wouldn't understand) "alright, there goes my beach getaway from hectic city lifestyle!"
Grow up China people, this kinda incident could happen to any airlines and countries.
walter.kovacs.967
What a joke many of these mainlanders are, always irrational & being led by the nose by their government who just want to channel away the anger & collective dissatisfactions of its citizens.
Is your own government that innocent, honest & transparent? May I ask how did your government handle the Wenzhou train disaster? How about the Sichuan earthquake? Yeah, I'm sure your government was REALLY honest & transparent.
Why do you keep insisting that Malaysia is hiding something? Takes one to know one? Why don't you ask your own government if they could be hiding information as well, since they obviously have more advanced surveillance satellite systems compared to poor little Malaysia. Why couldn't they track the plane? Remember the first few days when China claimed they saw wreckage in South China Seas & gave everyone a wild goose chase?
Numerous conspiracy theories are flying around & many of them indicated your own government’s direct or indirect involvement in the plane going missing. Imagine if one of these theories turned out to be true, based on your own twisted logic should the whole world then boycott all things Chinese, INDEFINITELY? There are more than a dozen nationalities in that plane, not just yours. Remember that.

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