KUALA LUMPUR: There have been more tourist arrivals from China and India recorded this year compared to 2019.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing said this January to September, Malaysia received 1.02 million tourists from China and over 472,000 from India.
“This is an increase of 42.2% and 87.6% compared with the same period in 2019,” he told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
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This was in reply to Lim Guan Eng (PH-Bagan) who wanted to know if the ministry was actively wooing China and India into visiting the country.
On Nov 27, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced that tourists from China and India will be granted 30-day visa-free travel beginning today.
The announcement was made in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China next year.
Tiong was also asked to state the positive impact of the 30-day visa exemption for Chinese and Indian tourists on the objective of achieving Malaysia’s 25 million foreign tourists target next year.
He 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.
The minister, however, reminded that Malaysia must ensure that facilities and amenities in tourist spots are in good order as well as offer tourism products that are interesting and competitive.
“The most important thing is that we do not make all issues into religious or racial ones. We should be more focused on the elements that contribute to the economic progress of the country so that it will give confidence for tourists to visit us,” he said.
Asked if the government will be expanding the list of countries under the visa exemption period, Tiong said any decision is up to the Home Ministry.