MATTA president Tan Kok Liang.
The Malaysian Association of Travel Agents has stepped up its call for the Malaysian government to grant visa free travel for Chinese and Indian tourists visiting the country.
MATTA president Tan Kok Liang said while the association welcomed the government’s move to extend the 15-day visa exemption for tourists from China and India from January 1 to December 31 2019, the government should go further and grant visa fee travel for tourists.
He said that Malaysia’s tourism industry is trailing behind neighbouring countries such as Thailand, Singapore and Philippines.
“For example, Thailand recently extended the waiver of visa-on-arrival (VOA) fees for visitors from 21 countries, including China and India through to the end of April. Arrivals from China and India spiked about 20% compared with the first half of November 2018, when VOA fees were still in place,” he said.
“Indonesia grants visa-free travel to citizens of 169 countries including China and India nationals. The visa-free policy helped to boost tourist arrivals by about 20% since 2014.”
Tourism Malaysia figures, quoted by MATTA, show an increase of 34.2% in Chinese tourist arrivals to Malaysia from January to September last year, and a 10.4% rise in arrivals from India.
“With the growth of Chinese and Indian tourists, the government should take the opportunity to entice these top two markets for inbound tourism with convenient and hassle-free entry to Malaysia,” the MATTA president said.
“The government should make visa free travel for Chinese and Indian tourists a national agenda to ensure Malaysia is not losing out in the race for tourists and tourist dollars rather than being overly cautious and dilly-dallying,” he added.