PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian government's strategic decision to implement a 30-day visa-free travel program for citizens of China and India has opened up new opportunities for the hotel industry to bolster its recovery, says the hotel industry.
Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) said the initiative serves as a great occasion for Malaysia to carry out a massive promotion to attract tourists from these high-yield countries ahead of country Visit Malaysia Year 2026 (VMY2026).
MAH pointed out that hoteliers had actively prepared for the anticipated influx of Chinese and Indian tourists and viewed this move as a significant chance to enhance Malaysia's hotel sector recovery.
"The decision strategically positions Malaysia to capture a substantial market share from two of the most lucrative global markets, China and India.
"Historically, both nations have been significant contributors to Malaysia's tourism receipts and arrivals," it said in a statement on Friday (Dec 1).
On Nov 27, Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the government would reinforce the visa liberalisation plan with integrated security and enforcement measures, including monitoring the departure of tourists from China and India.
This aligned with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's announcement on Nov 26, allowing 30-day visa-free travel for visitors from China and India to Malaysia from Dec 1, marking the 50th year of the strategic partnership between Malaysia and China.
MAH expressed hope that this exemption would provide the momentum needed for hoteliers to establish Malaysia as the preferred destination for these discerning markets.
"The decision also positions Malaysia to capture a significant market share from two of the most lucrative markets globally, China and India," it added.
As the nation embarked on this new phase of visa-free travel, MAH said it remained committed to supporting initiatives contributing to the growth and recovery of Malaysia's tourism and hospitality sectors.