The role of travel agents in China is still relevant towards boosting the tourist traffic between China and Malaysia, despite high level of advancement in ICT where travel arrangements can be made via online.
Sarawak Tourism Board’s (STB) chief executive officer Datuk Rashid Khan underlined this in his congratulatory speech at the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) China Top Agents Award Ceremony 2011 here.
“Channels such as online booking and e-debit transactions for travelling are still in an infancy stage in China. Thus, customers there still rely on consulting roles provided by travel agents there to advise them on product experience and destinations. All of you (the Chinese travel agents) are very much involved in catering for such demand in the value chain – you are the experts who understand the needs of your Chinese customers. Your knowledge on destinations will help you to market and promote routes that will not only satisfy your customers, but will also generate profits for your businesses,” he said in his address to the audience at a hotel here last Friday.
According to data from Tourism Malaysia, the country recorded over 1.13 million tourist arrivals from China for the period between January to December last year – a healthy 10.8 per cent growth from some 1.02 million Chinese tourists here in corresponding period in 2009.
The annual event, organised by national carrier MAS, witnessed the recognition of the airlines’ 50 top-performing travel agencies from the regions of China, Hong Kong and Macau.
Expressing a similar sentiment with Rashid, it was highlighted that since 2007, MAS had seen its China region enjoying healthy revenue growth of over 10 per cent per annum, with average seat factor growing at double-digit levels.
“MAS has always recognised China and its surrounding regions as a fully potential market. In 2010, there were over 50 flights that serviced China and Hong Kong region from Malaysia, with average seat factor consistently reaching the 70-per cent level. This remarkable result is testament to the strong partnership and cooperation between MAS and these Chinese travel agencies. As such, we are proud to be associated with such high-performing, high-quality partners towards boosting the inter-tourism traffic between Malaysia and China,” he said.
“We have done this in order to support the travel agents in China to sell their products on Malaysia and in particularly, on Sarawak."
Will anyone be doing the same for agents in Malaysia, to make them continuously relevant.