Sunday, January 3, 2016

MATTA: Promote eVisa in China

PETALING JAYA: The online visa application service eVisa should be promoted in China to capture the market for the Chinese New Year travel period next month, says Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Datuk Hamzah Rahmat.
He believed that such publicity, if done immediately and extensively in mainland China, would give Malaysia a chance to capture more of the Chinese market share during the Lunar New Year period, which is the peak travel period for them.
“I think it is important for the Chinese nationals in China to be fully aware of the service.
“If the public does not know about it, they will assume that it (the application method) has remained status quo,” he said.
The Immigration Department announced on Friday that eVisa for Chinese tourists would be available starting this month to Chinese nationals residing in China.
It will be extended to Chinese nationals living elsewhere under the second phase in March and will eventually be applicable globally under the third phase from June.
The eVisa, which is only applicable for tourist visa, will be free until further announcement in March.
Hamzah said yesterday he was glad that the Government had heeded MATTA’s advice to offer the online visa application service, but admitted that the application me­­thod was still unclear.
“Will it be like Australia’s electronic visa system?” he asked.
He said the Australian Electronic Visa was an ideal system as applicants need not visit the Malaysian embassy to apply for the visa.
When Japan abolished the visa requirement for Malaysians in 2013, it saw a 100% annual increase of Malaysian tourists, he added.
If executed well, Hamzah said he believed the eVisa service could help the travel industry exceed “the highest number of tourists we have achieved so far”.
He noted that the industry was recovering with an increase in Chinese tourists arrivals recently.
MATTA vice-president (inbound) Datuk Tan Kok Liang said the demand from China was still strong.
He expects a nominal increase of 5% to 10% in Chinese tourists arri­vals next month.
The online visa application service would help tour agencies market their services to China, he added.
However, he cautioned that Ma­­lay­sia faced competition from South Korea and Japan.
-thestar online.

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