The Malaysian government has unveiled several measures to boost arrivals into the country and to maintain the economic growth momentum in the wake of a global slowdown.
Prime minister Najib Abdul Razak announced on September 14 that an additional RM80 million (US$18.6 million) will be set aside to launch medical tourism campaigns in selected markets, such as China and India.
Malaysian authorities earlier announced that group tours from China are exempted from having to obtain a visa between October 1, 2015 and May 31, 2016.
These announcements come in the wake of an earlier move made this year to cut Tourism Malaysia’s advertising and promotional budget by 25 per cent, or RM50 million.
The government has also committed to the development of two key projects amounting to RM5.6 billion to further enhance the National Museum, National Monument, Perdana Lake Gardens and to improve ground links to KL Sentral.
Ally Bhoonee, executive director at World Avenues, said: “This is a very good time to promote medical tourism especially with the devaluation of the ringgit. We have world-class medical facilities but awareness is still lacking.”
Meanwhile, Mint Leong, managing director of Sunflower Holidays, added that the government should not impose a duration limit for the Chinese group visa exemptions and that it should cover FITs as well.
“The high-end Chinese tourists don’t take group tours. We should also make it easier for them by removing visa requirements,” she said.