Mainland travel agencies have already reported a significant drop in the number of Chinese visitors to Malaysia and some mainlanders have called for a tourism boycott following the disappearance of MH370, according to SCMP. Amid protests and accusations of cover-ups, relatives of passengers on board the plane are now demanding that Malaysian authorities retract the statement made by PM Najib Razak on Monday night that the plane had “landed in the southern Indian Ocean”, as no wreckage from the lost jet has yet been recovered.
“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,” Dun Jidong, a senior marketing manager at Ctrip.com, told the Post.
Three other top travel agencies reported similar decline in tourists from China, which is now the third largest source of visitors to Malaysia. An analyst has predicted that Chinese arrivals would this year drop by 20 to 40 percent, or some 400,000 to 800,000 tourists.
Several people have voiced their plans to avoid Malaysia, such as popular Chinese film star Chen Kun, who wrote in a Weibo post: “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”.
Family members of passengers on board MH370 have understandably expressed anger and frustration over the Malaysian PM’s announcement on Monday that the plane had “beyond any reasonable doubt” crashed into the Indian Ocean, as the Malaysian government’s handling of the disappearance had been scrutinized early on and throughout the investigation. As some relatives are now accusing officials of being involved in a cover-up, many are demanding that Malaysia representatives retract the conclusive statement that the plane had crashed, according to the Post:
At a meeting with Malaysian official delegates at Beijing’s Metropark Lido Hotel, about 200 angry relatives questioned Kuala Lumpur’s conclusion that the plane had crashed in the Indian Ocean, leaving no survivors. […]
The representatives refused to answer family members’ technical questions and instead said they would take those queries and concerns – including their demand for a retraction – to investigators in Kuala Lumpur.
One female family member told the Malaysian representatives that the plane’s path depicted on British investigators’ charts appeared not to match Malaysian military radar. […]
Another relative said he blamed Malaysia’s military for failing to communicate with the plane when it appeared on military radar. “If you ever made an inquiry to the pilot, all of us would not need to be here now,” he said.
Meanwhile, recent satellite imagery showing around 122 possible MH370-related debris floating in the southern Indian Ocean have offered ‘the most credible lead yet‘ in the search for the missing airliner, according to the country’s transport minister.
The objects were spotted close to where Chinese and Australian aircraft previously sighted possible wreckage. Extra vessels and aircraft were dispatched on Wednesday to survey the area.