The Malaysian Government’s scheme to let go off visa fees for Indian visitors has been met with approval by Tourism and business groups. This waiver for Indians follows that for Chinese travelers. The vice-president (inbound) of MATTA or Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents, Datuk Tan Kok Liang was of the view that this step would give a fillip to the nation’s travel industry because of the fact that India was one among the key emerging markets for inbound tourism in Malaysia.
Nevertheless, he said that relinquishing the fees for the processing of the visa and making provisions for VoA options would result in making Malaysia a hot-spot tourist destination. This act is lauded by MATTA as being another dedicated move by the Government here to raise the count of arrival of travelers. The vice-president said that with the rise in number of travelers from India and China, the Malaysian economy and industry will be greatly benefitted.
At present, Malaysia is open to the visa on arrival option only for these two countries. So, now they can arrive through the air entry points in Penang, Kuching, Kuala Lampur, Johor Baru and Kota Kinabalu for a maximum period of seven days’ stay duration and at a fee of RM 358(100 US dollars). The current VoA provision needs to be extended for providing direct entry from India and China such that these travelers can stay up to 14 days. This extension was being practiced by five of the ASEAN nations-Brunei offering 14 days, Thailand extending it to 15 days and Cambodia, Laos and Indonesia with 30 days.
According to Tan Sri K.K. Eswaran, president of Malaysian Associated Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the step of waiving visa fees for Indians would make them want to come to Malaysia even more. The cost of staying in Malaysian hotels is inexpensive, which is an attractive feature for these visitors. Also, the visa application procedure should be simplified and made more convenient.
There were reports showing Indian visitors coming to Malaysia have risen by 20.7 percent in the first 10 months of 2014. Tourism Malaysia statistics recorded 643,335 Indian visitors toured Malaysia between the months of January to October. This is a stark contrast to the 643,964 who came here during the same time in 2013.