KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has seen an increase in tourists from China and India this year, says Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing.
He said the country received 1.02 million tourists from China and more than 472,000 visitors from India in the January to September period
“This is an increase of 42.2% and 87.6% compared with the same period in 2019,” he told the Dewan Rakyat during the Minister’s Question Time session on Thursday (Nov 30).
Tiong said this in a reply to a supplementary question to Lim Guan Eng (PH-Bagan), who wanted to know if the ministry is actively promoting Malaysia in China and India to increase tourists from the respective countries.
On Nov 27, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced that tourists from China and India would be granted a 30-days visa-free travel starting Dec 1.
The announcement was made following Malaysia’s 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties with China next year.
Earlier, Lim asked Tiong to state the positive impact of the 30-day visa exemption for Chinese and Indian tourists on reaching the target of 25 million foreign tourists and the profit gained as a result.
Tiong said the 30-day visa exemption is an important initiative to boost tourism in the country as it could attract a large number of arrivals from both India and China.
He, however, reminded that Malaysia must ensure facilities and amenities in tourist places are in good condition as well as offer tourism products that are interesting and competitive.
“The most important thing is that we do not make all issues a religious or racial one. We should be more focused on the elements that contribute to the economic progress of the country so that it would provide confidence for tourists to visit us,” he said.
When asked if the ministry will be expanding the list of countries under the visa exemption period, Tiong said any decision on the matter falls under the Home Ministry’s jurisdiction.