The Malta Independent 26 June 2022, Sunday

Chinese tourism operator hopes to combine Malta into tour package, bringing thousands to the country

Albert Galea Tuesday, 21 June 2022, 09:43 Last update: about 5 days ago

A Chinese tour operator is hoping to combine Malta into a Mediterranean tour package which will result in thousands of tourists from the Chinese market coming to the country.

Duma Wang, the chairman of the Hiseas International Tourism Group, told The Malta Independent that his company is aiming to be the first which brings the Chinese touristic market back to Europe when the continent fully reopens after the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Wang was in Malta for the Mediterranean Tourism Forum, which was hosted in Malta last week and which convened the best brains in tourism to map out the future of the industry.

Asked by The Malta Independent what his views on Malta are and on what it can offer, Wang described the country as “one of the best tourism destinations in Europe.”

Some 70,000 Chinese tourists visited Malta during 2019, the last full year before the Covid-19 pandemic. Wang said that in the Mediterranean, Greece is Malta’s biggest competitor for tourists from the Chinese market.

Wang explained that Chinese tourists do not generally travel abroad to stay in one place when travelling to Europe: they prefer touring around a particular area.

Malta, in this sense, is at a disadvantage due to its small size, he said. This is the reason that Hiseas Group is considering to combine Malta with other Mediterranean countries such as Italy into something of a Mediterranean tour package – something which he said would enhance both the product they offer and the Maltese tourism market.

Around 3 million Chinese tourists visited Europe every year prior to the pandemic, with Hiseas being the travel operators for just over 300,000 of those.

It is that market that any tourism package including Malta would be marketed to.

“It is our duty to work to this end, because we are the first company to come to Europe again and to start expanding and exploring new options here after – or even still during – the pandemic. We would like to make the first step and we are looking forward to the reopening of the Chinese market and to be the first to promote Malta to Chinese tourists,” Wang said.

As for travel restrictions which still do exist due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Wang says that travel is starting to become easier, but admits that it may take till this time next year for there to be a total reopening to everywhere.

Wang was one of the main business guests at the Mediterranean Tourism Forum, which was held in Malta and hosted by the Malta Hotels & Restaurants Association.

The Malta Independent on Sunday also reported from one of the European Parliament’s main tourism spokespersons who attended the event; Hungarian MEP Istvan Ujheli. Ujheli, who hails from the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), is the vice chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism and explained that in his opinion, Malta should place more focus on event and culture-based tourism which can be attracted on a year-round basis, rather than focusing on mass tourism.

 

 

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