The Malaysian government has agreed to visa exemption for tour groups from China on a trial basis, with the implementation date to be announced soon.
In the past few months numerous calls have been made by tourism and culture minister, Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, and the country’s travel trade to grant free visas to tourists from China to woo more of them to the country.
Mohamed Nazri said that between January and March this year the number of Chinese tourists had dropped to 6.5 million from 7.1 million in the same period last year.
The Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), a major component party of the Barisan Nasional ruling coalition, welcomed the move saying it would put Malaysia on a competitive footing with other countries competing for Chinese tourist dollars.
MCA president, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, who is also the transport minister, said this initiative would provide a “wow factor” to entice them to Malaysia.
The time-consuming process of applying for a visa is a main deterrent for the Chinese coming to Malaysia, he said in a report in The Star.
“If we can open new doors and make it easy for Chinese tourists to come, I’m sure that the number of arrivals will increase,” he added.
Meanwhile home minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, said the government is still looking for the best option for individual tourists.
The Malaysian government withdrew the Visa on Arrival facility to Chinese tourists due to problems such as overstaying. (source: travelweeklyasia)