The government has agreed to visa exemption for tour groups from China on a trial basis.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the move was decided by the Cabinet yesterday.
He said the implementation date of the trial period would be announced by the Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz soon. For full Bernama report read HERE.
Our country experienced a drastic drop of 500,000 tourists from China for the first quarter of this year. From the record of Malaysia Tourist Promotion Board, each tourist from China on average spent RM3,401.00 in Malaysia. Therefore, for the first quarter of this year, we have lost about RM1.7 billion tourist dollars, which was a huge sum for any economy.
MyFest 2015 is a campaign to boost the tourism sector and ensure that the Malaysian tourism industry remains robust after the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 Campaign, HERE.
The government should also look into abolishing the “Service Charge” imposed for visa applications for the Chinese tourists because it is several times higher than the visa fees charged by our embassy. It is totally unnecessary and another hindrance for our potential tourists from China.
It is now timely for the government to implement visa application online like other countries. This will make it easier for the Chinese tourists to visit MalaysiaTrulyAsia. It will no doubt improve the number of tourists from China visiting MalaysiaTrulyAsia.
Whether or not the said visa exemption could recoup what we have lost for the last quarter is left to be seen.
Of course, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board had to work harder and think out of the box to promote MalaysiaTrulyAsia in China. Many roadshows and sale missions have already being planned and will be launched in a big scale in various cities in China in the very near future.