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News : Chinese Help Desk at Kuala Lumpur International Airport First in Region
Sepang, Malaysia, Sept, 2017 -- The Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is the first international airport in the region to provide a permanent help desk catering specifically to travellers from China.
Tourism Malaysia chairman Siew Ka Wei said the Chinese Travellers Affairs Help Desk would be manned by Mandarin-speaking volunteers, and would be located near the Immigration counters at the arrival halls of KLIA and KLIA2.
With the support of the Home Ministry and Immigration Department, Mr Siew hoped the help desk would be extended to all international entry points, including Johor Baru.
"We are also looking to extending the service to international airports in Penang, Melaka, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu, which would be the second phase of the introduction of the help desk," he said following the launch of the Chinese Travellers Affairs Help Desk at KLIA on Wednesday (Aug 30).
"The goal of providing this service is to understand the core problem of airport congestion, which is the language barrier, and pointing the tourists in the right direction, which in turn would allow them to have a seamless travel experience."
In the past, help had to be sought from the Chinese embassy to explain visa issues, logistics after arrival, and direction around the airport.
Mr Siew said Chinese tourists represented the largest segment of travellers, with recent reports forecasting the world would be seeing 200 million tourists from China making outbound trips by 2020.
"There are currently 470 flights a week connecting China and Malaysia. This help desk is part of our efforts to enrich the Chinese tourists' experience and provide smooth travel experience," he said.
Malaysia Airports Holdings managing director Badlisham Ghazali said there could be a lack of volunteers to man the help desks, especially at airports outside the Klang Valley.
"The issue is not about the lack of facilities, but there are not enough volunteers to help out in other states," he said.
"So we are looking at perhaps voice-automated kiosks or online call services that can cater to the basic questions that are commonly asked."
Mr Badlisham said the help desk would be manned by volunteers from the Malaysia China Welfare Advisory Society, coordinated by Tourism Malaysia and vetted by the police and airport security.
There are 10 Mandarin speaking volunteers who will alternate on shifts between KLIA and KLIA2.
"We will be conducting a survey among the passengers and tour groups on the effectiveness of the help desk in the next month. We are also looking for more volunteers," he said.
The volunteers are trained by student volunteers from China under the purview of the Chinese embassy.
The first phase of the help desk will begin operations on Saturday during the peak hours of Chinese arrivals, from 7pm to midnight. The operations will extend from 5pm to 1am in October.
Also present at the launch were Malaysia China Welfare Advisory Society president Donald Lim, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board director-general Seri Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, KLIA/klia2 Immigration director Mohd Nasri Ishak, and Wu Shenghao, deputy chief of consular office at the Chinese embassy.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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