BEIJING, March 1 (Bernama) -- Malaysia's visa programmes to further boost Chinese tourist arrivals, namely the electronic visa (e-visa) and electronic travel registration and information (ENTRI), were officially launched today.
The launch was officiated by Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.
Also present was Malaysia's Ambassador to China, Datuk Zainuddin Yahya.
Starting today (March 1) until Dec 31, Chinese tourists can enter Malaysia without hassle as they can apply for visa online and print the e-visa on their own.
Between midnight and noon, the Malaysian Visa Application Processing Centre in Beijing has received over 100 applicants.
Mohamed Nazri said the visa programme was the key initiative to help accomplish the government's goal of further expanding and developing the tourism industry of Malaysia and China, as well as strengthening diplomatic relations of both nations.
"China has been among Malaysia's top 10 source markets and we deeply treasure the recognition and support from Chinese tourists. To show Malaysia's sincerity in welcoming tourists from China, we now promote e-visa to realise the goal of receiving eight million tourist arrivals from China annually," he said.
Mohamed Nazri said he received positive feedback from travel agents in China regarding Chinese tourist interest in Malaysia as the country was "very close" to their culture.
"Chinese tourists are comfortable travelling to Malaysia as the Chinese community in Malaysia was not only able to speak Mandarin but also various dialects like Cantonese, Hokkien and Teochew," he noted.
He said the ministry and its agencies had several tourism programmes in the pipeline to further boost Chinese tourist arrivals, in line with the implementation of e-visa programmes.
E-visa is for applicants with a stay not exceeding 30 days and required to pay a processing fees of 200 yuan (RM128), while ENTRI service is for those on short trip not exceeding 15 days, with a processing fees of 160 yuan (RM102).
Applicants can register at www.windowmalaysia.my/evisa, the official website for Malaysian e-visa application.
Meanwhile, Malaysian singer Shila Amzah was appointed Malaysia's Tourism Ambassador in China amid her popularity among the Chinese after appearances on local television show, 'Asian Wave'.
Mohamed Nazri hoped through this appointment, more Chinese would learn more about Malaysia and travel to the country.