KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is hoping to attract more tourists from China by issuing e-visa to cut down on red tape, said Deputy Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen.
She said the proposed e-visa would probably be similar to that currently practised between Malaysia and Australia. Malaysians visiting Australia can obtain their tourist visas through their travel agents and their details would be transmitted electronically to all entry points in Australia.
This is a pilot project and we hope the plan would be ready by July and be in operation before the end of the year, she said after a meeting with the Vice-Tourism Minister Gu Zhao Xi at the Malaysian Tourism Centre yesterday.
Dr Ng said the number of Chinese tourists had increased by 23% from 419,916 in 2001 to 517,415 last year.
The numbers are there. We are only worried about accessibility. At present, tourists can only apply for visas to Malaysia in three places Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
We hope to expand this to other cities, as well as to encourage more direct flights from major provinces to Malaysia, she said.
Among other things discussed were Cheng Hos 600th anniversary celebrations in Malacca this year and on making Malaysia a transit point for Chinese Muslim pilgrims en route to Mecca.
Gu said South-East Asian tourists to China had shot up by 25% last year.
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