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Malaysia's tourism players eye CIFTIS for cross-industry synergy

2020-09-03 15:25

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Malaysian tourism industry players are seeing the upcoming China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) as an opportunity to enter the Chinese market and engage in cross-industry cooperation.

Deputy President of Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association (MITA) Mint Leong said the event has drawn a lot of interest and positive responses among MITA members, with several having decided to participate.

For her, CIFTIS comes at a critical moment when China has recovered from the COVID-19 outbreak with its economy is racing again, while Malaysia's tourism industry is still facing a very tough time as the country's border remains closed to foreign tourists.

CIFTIS is said to be able to provide a venue promoting Malaysia as a potential tourism destination after the pandemic, and helping the Southeast Asian country maintain its interest in the Chinese market, which has been a major source of its tourists in recent years.

Leong believes that international connection is "very important to keep the industry lively" in the critical period of time.

CIFTIS participant Wilson Chiam Tak Chee, managing director of a travel company based in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, said the exhibition would provide an invaluable opportunity to promote attractions in his state.

"Chinese tourists were previously more interested in islands and other states but starting last year we saw an uptick of interest into our products, that is natural heritage sites and the nature adventure packages," he said

"With CIFTIS, we are hoping to generate interest in not only Malaysia but in our state as well and the culture, adventure, nature, food, and festival offerings that we have to these travelers when borders are finally open," he added.

For her part, Leong is also looking out for new opportunities during CIFTIS as the event has attracted participants from a wide range of industries.

"We also think of how the travel industry can mix with other industries. For example, travel and culture, travel and entertainment and sport, travel and trade and food and everything," she said.

"So this is also an opportunity for us to reach out to people who are not in the industry because I understand in this fair, one very unique point is that they mix a lot of industries," she added.

CIFTIS itself, which features offline and online exhibitions, could be an inspiration for Malaysia's tourism industry, said Leong.

"It is also an eye-opener for us," she said. "This is something we are all going to learn from and perhaps we can even apply their style of organizing for our own fairs."

It could also be a learning experience from which to draw on what the Chinese tourism and services industries are doing to overcome disruptions caused by COVID-19, she said.

"I think they already started to recover, so whatever happens in China is actually an example for us to learn. What I am doing here is I learn from my counterparts in China," she said.

More than 17,000 companies will participate in this year's CIFTIS, running on Sept. 4-9 in Beijing as organizers said over 2,000 firms have signed up as offline exhibitors, while more than 4,000 companies will showcase their products and services online.

Some 90,000 people, including those from international organizations and foreign embassies in China as well as overseas business associations, will attend the fair.

Along with the China Import and Export Fair and the China International Import Expo, CIFTIS is an important platform for China's push to further open up and is expected to see the announcement of fresh opening-up policies.
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