Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Tourism Malaysia Chairman To Propose 'e-visa' Facility For Chinese Tourists

BEIJING, Aug 5 (Bernama) -- Optimistic that the 'e-visa facility for Chinese' will boost Malaysia's tourism, Tourism Malaysia chairman Wee Choo Keong is expected to forward a proposal to the Malaysian Home Ministry soon.

He said as the facility would provide convenience to Chinese tourists, he was seriously looking into the e-visa implementation.

"China is an important market for us and it is a huge country. We have to consider the country's demography as some tourists took some four hours to travel to get their travel visa done," he told Malaysian journalists here Wednesday.

He noted that as the tourism sector made the second largest contribution in Malaysia's economic growth, he would discuss the matter with Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also newly-minted deputy prime minister.

Earlier, Wee chaired a briefing with about a dozen Chinese travel agents here to foster better understanding on the need and challenges faced by local travel agencies.

Shenzhen Junjie International Travel Service Co Ltd general manager Maggie Mei Ge suggested the implementation of e-visa or measures to simplify the visa application for Chinese tourists were key factors to lure more Chinese visitors to Malaysia.

She said some of the tourists had to spend four hours travelling from the neighbouring province of Beijing to have their visa done.

Currently, Chinese visitors can only apply for their visas at four Visa Malaysia 1 Stop Centres (SPPV 1 Stop Centres) in the four cities of mainland China, namely Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Kunming.

The SPPV 1 Stop Centres serve as the only Malaysian Visa Application Processing Centre in China, which is authorised by the Malaysian Government to receive and process visa applications; distribute passports to applicants; collect visa fees on behalf of the Embassy or Consulate-General of Malaysia.

On visa waiver for tour groups from China which was expected to come into effect next month, Wee was optimistic the move would attract more Chinese to visit Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Beijing Byecity International Travel Co Ltd vice-president Alan Li told Bernama that despite granting the visa exemption for Chinese tour groups, the visa fee waiver (costing 80 yuan, about RM50) for Chinese tourists from Feb 15 to Dec 31 would not create much impact for Chinese tourists as they would still have to fork out 120 yuan (RM75) for the visa processing fee.

He said currently, most Chinese travellers had opted to travel on free-and-easy basis; hence, he believed to grant the visa exemption for the free-and-easy travellers would be a more practical measure.

Air China overseas sales senior manager Zhang Yun said the Chinese national carrier would resume direct flights to Malaysia from Oct 25 this year.

She believed the four times-a-week Beijing-Kuala Lumpur flights, with Airbus A330 would boost Malaysia's tourism market.

-bernama.

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