With this new policy, Malaysia hopes to attract more tourists and achieve its goal of attracting 16 million visitors in 2021.
Malaysia is set to introduce visa exemptions for Chinese tourists in the coming days, according to Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing.
He said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has instructed the Ministry of Home Affairs to prepare a report on the policy, which is expected to provide visa-free travel for Chinese tourists for certain days.
Tiong added that during a recent trip to the China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, China, the Prime Minister raised the issue of visa exemptions for tourists, stating that it would be best if Malaysia and China could implement a visa exemption policy for each other’s tourists.
The policy is expected to attract and increase the number of Chinese tourists visiting Malaysia and is seen as mutually beneficial for both countries.
Malaysia's tourism industry welcomes the reopening of China's tourist market, a remarkable influx of 178,150 Chinese tourists in the first quarter breathes new life into Malaysia’s travel sector. pic.twitter.com/VFp4eVAqNF— International Strategy Institute (ISI) (@istrategyglobal) July 11, 2023
In addition to Chinese tourists, the Prime Minister also mentioned that visa-free facilities should be provided for Indian tourists.
However, specific measures must wait until the Ministry of Interior prepares the relevant report.
Tiong was quoted as making the statement in a news report by Sin Chew.
Malaysia currently implements visa-on-arrival for Chinese tourists through chartered flights.
Travellers from India entering Malaysia from Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, or Brunei are also eligible for visa-on-arrival.
Tiong added that the Ministry of Tourism will discuss with travel agencies to address specific cooperation matters.
The anticipated introduction of visa exemptions will positively impact Malaysia’s tourism industry, drawing in more visitors from China and India.
However, there have been some concerns affecting Chinese tourists in Malaysia.
Could Chinese tourists be the solution to Malaysia’s declining tourism revenue?
Malaysia is banking on the resurgence of Chinese tourists to revive its tourism industry, which is still grappling with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A remarkable influx of 178,150 Chinese tourists visited Malaysia in the first quarter of 2023, breathing new life into the country’s travel sector.
China was Malaysia's 3rd largest tourist arrival nation after Singapore & Indonesia in 2019.— Radar Saham (@azmi_radarsaham) September 3, 2023
They were the 2nd highest spenders, contributing 17.8% of total tourism revenue of RM86.1 billion that year.
In fact, Chinese tourists have been a significant source of growth for Malaysia’s tourism industry over the past decade.
In 2019, around three million Chinese tourists visited Malaysia, making it the sixth most popular destination for Chinese holiday-makers after Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, and Indonesia.