The Visa On Arrival (VOA) requirements for tourists from China and India may be relaxed in a bid to increase the number of visitors from the two countries in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2020.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Mohamaddin Ketapi said the move might be implemented this year, but he did not specify which of the requirements would be relaxed.
“Yes (maybe relax the requirements), I don’t see any problem with that. We are looking for more tourists, so we need to be lenient.
“We may relax (VOA requirements), but we need (further) discussions with other relevant ministries and ministers,” he told reporters at a special press conference here yesterday.
Earlier, the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) urged the government to provide visa-free travel access to tourists from China and India to boost the country’s tourism industry.
MATTA president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said Malaysia suffered a three percent drop in tourist arrivals to 25.95 million in 2017 compared to 26.76 million in 2016, although tourist arrivals throughout Asean in 2017 remained positive.
In another development, Mohamaddin said his ministry was in the midst of discussing with several international airline companies, among them Condor, Qatar Airways, IndiGo Airline and TUI fly, to increase their flight destinations in the country.
He said some of them already provided direct access to the country via Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)
“There are suggestions for them to fly from Europe to Langkawi (Kedah) and I have also requested they extend their flights to Kota Kinabalu (Sabah),” he said.