PETALING JAYA: Both travellers and tour agents welcomed the prospect of visa-free travel to the United States, saying that it will make for hassle-free trips to the country in the future.
Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Hamzah Rahmat said it would be great if Malaysians were able to travel without the need for a visa to the United States.
“It will boost the outbound market towards the United States.
“Likewise, the move will also increase tourist arrivals from the United States to Malaysia.
“Tourism is two-way traffic,” he said when contacted yesterday.
Visa-free travel to the United States could be possible within 18 months with the Immigration Department currently preparing to comply with US guidelines.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had said he was confident of the department fulfilling the US visa waiver programme (VWP) requirements sooner than expected.
Housewife Emma Chua said the move would make it much more convenient for her to travel to see her youngest son who is pursuing his doctorate in neuroscience in New York.
“The move will free me from having to go through the hassle of applying for a visa, which includes filling up an online form and scheduling a face-to-face interview.
“I hope the visa-free travel will be available in time for me to go for my son’s graduation next year,” said the mother of two, who is in her 50s.
Ng Mei Mei, 50, also lauded the move by the Government as she was put off by the visa application process when she went through it last year.
“I waited in the rain to get inside the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur as there was no shade and we could not bring our handphones inside,” said the general manager, who has a son pursuing a double degree in Pennsylvania.
Lecturer S. Anjaana, 31, welcomed the Government’s effort as it would be more convenient for her to visit her uncle in Oklahoma.
“It will also be easier for my elderly parents as there is no need to go through the screening process.
“My mother and I have not been to the United States before and we are looking forward to it,” she said.