The full implementation of electronic visa announcement in Beijing recently was a good closing to a long chapter, said Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) president Datuk Hamzah Rahmat.
“Since March 2014, Matta has been calling for visa exemption for China tourists as a temporary measure and introduction of eVisa as the permanent solution. This was because visa exemption could be granted overnight, whereas eVisa would require time and funding,” he said.
The implementation of the e-Visa system will be carried out in three phases starting with Chinese nationals residing in mainland China, followed by the second phase that includes Chinese nationals residing outside Mainland China, and eventually with the final phase, which incorporates other countries such as India, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
According to Hamzah, the earlier partial implementation of the eVisa – that allowed online application, but required passport submission – was met with scepticism from Chinese and local tour operators.
“We are moving under an eVisa regime that ensures growth and stability for our tourism industry,” Hamzah said, adding that eVisa enhances security.
Matta, on its part, is urging travel and tour operators to embrace eVisa instead of Entri. The former, according to Hamzah, will provide travellers with peace of mind as all the necessary documentations are provided once the application is approved.
eVisa is for applicants with a stay not exceeding 30 days, while Entri is for trips not exceeding 15 days.
Next up, Matta is pushing for eVisa to be implemented for tourists from India.
“Together, China and India will be our biggest source of tourists that will eventually overtake Asean countries combined,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi recently said that eight million tourists from China are expected to contribute RM22.1bil in income to Malaysia in the next five years.
Chinese tourists can visit www.windowmalaysia.my/evisa, the official website for Malaysian eVisa application, to submit relevant documents, pay a processing fee of US$25 (RM103) and print the eVisa on their own.