Malaysia-China visa-free travel policy will boost business, tourism

KOTA KINABALU: The 15-day visa free travel reciprocal policy for Malaysians travelling to China will spur business and tourism in Sabah, says Sabah DAP leader Datuk Chan Foong Hin.

He welcomed the announcement by the Chinese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Friday (Nov 24), adding that the announcement was long awaited and finally realised.

"This is a major breakthrough as it will bring more business opportunities to the people of Sabah and boost our tourism industry," said the Deputy Agriculture and Food Security Minister.

He said this reflects the long-standing relationship between Malaysia and China, which coincided with next year's 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Chan said that the visa-free travel policy for Chinese tourists to Malaysia had been discussed for many years but progress had been slow, with no tangible results.

In September this year, he was part of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's delegation at the 20th China-Asean Expo (CAEXPO) in Nanning.

The Prime Minister had discussed the visa-free travel issue with the Chinese government during the bilateral meeting with China's Premier Li Qiang.

"The swift progress and implementation of this policy is very much welcomed.

"I am confident that this policy will not only lead to a substantial surge in tourist numbers between Malaysia and China but also usher in plenty of promising business opportunities for both countries," he added.

Chan, who is Kota Kinabalu MP, urged Sabah tourism players to use the opportunity to bring back the China tourists as it would help the economy.

Earlier on Friday (Nov 24), the Chinese Embassy announced that the 15-day visa-free policy would be in effect for a year from Dec 1, 2023 to Nov 30, 2024.

"To further promote people-to-people exchanges between China and Malaysia, the Chinese government will implement a 15-day visa-free policy for Malaysian citizens holding ordinary passports who enter China for business, tourism, family visits and transit purposes.

"Those who do not meet the purposes of the visit and the time limit for the 15-day visa-free policy are still required to apply for visas to China," the embassy said in a statement.

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