"There's unlikely to be a global impact [from the missing plane] but perhaps Chinese travel to Malaysia could see a short-term blip over the next four-to-six months," Scowsill said.
Malaysia has come under criticism in China for its handling of the missing jet. Relatives of the Chinese passengers who traveled to Kuala Lumpur have expressed their anger and frustration with the investigation with some throwing water bottles at Malaysian officials.
(Read more: China tourism boom is 'tip of the iceberg': Hotels.com )
Malaysia attracted 1.45 million Chinese tourists between January and September last year, a rise of almost 33 percent compared with the same period the previous year, according to the country's tourist board.
Yao Lingyun, a 36-year-old Chinese public health expert, said the missing plane has made her rethink travel plans in general.
"I'm very scared of flying over water now. I planned to go to Chongqing [in Southwest China] for the Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival, and I checked my flight to make sure it's not going to fly over water," she said. "I'm hesitating if I should go to Taiwan as I have planned, since it'll fly over a Strait. The idea of falling into water really scares me now."
- Additional reporting by Bo Gu and Wendy Min in Beijing.
— By CNBC.Com's Dhara Ranasinghe; Follow her on Twitter @DharaCNBC