Kuala Lumpur, 29 December 2019 – The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) welcomes the decision to extend current visa-free arrangements for China and India tourists to next year.
MATTA President Datuk Tan Kok Liang says “We are thankful to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for signing the federal government gazettes granting a 15-day visa exemption for tourists from China and India for Jan 1 to Dec 31 next year in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2020.”
“China tourist arrivals had been increasing steadily from 1,613,355 in 2014, 1,677,163 in 2015, 2,124,942 in 2016, 2,281,666 in 2017, 2,944,133 in 2018 and more than 3.2 million are expected this year. A 22% increase will see their numbers exceeding 4 million in 2020.”
“The number of tourists from India have also increased from 552,739 in 2017, 600,311 in 2018 and around 720,000 are expected this year, an increase of 23.2%. Boosting its momentum may result in close to 900,000 come visiting next year.”
“The announcement of the extension granted to nationals of these two most populous nations on earth would add impetus to the start of Visit Malaysia 2020. Although China and India tourists may enter without visa, they are still required to register through an ‘electronic travel registration and information system’ and travel within three months.”
“Since the last Visit Malaysia Year 2014, MATTA had been making repeated calls to the government to grant visa-free entry for China and India tourists or grant them free visas. Currently, nationals from 66 countries may enter Malaysia visa-free and stay up to 90 days, 97 countries for 30 days and two countries for 14 days.”
“China and India nationals may enter visa-free and stay up to 15 days provided they register in advance and travel within three months. Although visa fees have been waived, applicants are still charged processing fees for registration, discouraging many from applying and opting for other countries without such requirements.”
“MATTA recommends that visa-free entry for China and India tourists be extended beyond 2020 and the requirement to register through an ‘electronic travel registration and information system’ be waived to make such “free visas” be totally free-of-charge. Also, regular visitors be granted multiple entry visas for longer periods to facilitate the entry of these high-spending tourists.”
“Tourism is the bright spark for many countries around the world. In Malaysia, 23.5% or 3.5 million persons are employed in the tourism industry and Visit Malaysia 2020 is exactly what we need to revitalise the economy.”
“Achieving the targets to attract 30 million tourist arrivals and earning RM100 billion in tourism receipts will see the benefits ripple across the country. Allowing visa-free entry for China and India tourists and granting them totally free visas is one of the many game-changers MATTA had been requesting to boost our tourism industry”, concluded Tan.