TELUK INTAN, Feb 16 (Bernama) — Extending the visa-free entry policy in regards to tourists from China beyond the present nine months would economically benefit Malaysia.
This is according to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong.
He said nine months was not sufficient considering that 50 per cent of tourists from China travel abroad for shopping.
“Extending the visa-free entry could help the government achieve its target of eight million visitors to Malaysia yearly in the next five years. It will also bring in more earnings for the country.
“We have an advantage in drawing tourists from China, in that we can communicate with them in the same language,” he told Bernama recently.
The minister said other countries in the region also have a visa-free entry policy to draw visitors from the ‘Great Wall’, including Thailand, which has proven to increase its Chinese arrivals.
Meanwhile, Mah said tourism and travel agencies in China were drawing up their respective packages to bring their citizens to Malaysia.
He said his ministry had held dialogues with industry players and stakeholders in China to promote Malaysia.
“From what I was made to understand, they are most enthusiastic about the idea and have even planned travel packages for the years ahead,” he said.
On Jan 28, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced while presenting the recalibrated Budget 2016 that tourists from China need not obtain a visa to visit Malaysia between March 1 and Dec 31 this year, subject to certain conditions for a stay not exceeding 15 days.
Photo credit – kth.se