Published on : Monday, November 28, 2016
The mission is organised by MATTA inbound vice president Datuk Tan Kok Liang, who had earlier led another group of tour operators on a successful sales mission to south Indian cities of Bangalore and Chennai in August.
The sales and fact finding mission this time includes Colombo, as the number of visitors from Sri Lanka had fallen from 32,089 for the first eight months of last year to 19,004 this year., a drop of 40.8 percent. The percentage of decrease for India visitors over the same period was lesser at 6.7 percent, from 483,841 to 451,295.
While it is understandable for India and Sri Lanka nationals to be more inclined to visit other countries that are more welcoming, it is unacceptable when they face obstacles when planning to visit Malaysia.
Travel agents in India are complaining that visa agents charge INR5,000 for processing, on top of the INR1,000 fee for Malaysian visa. An INR3,000 fee is charged for those who apply e-Visa online, but the high rate of rejection forced many to apply manually.
A joint e-Visa application may result in some members of the family or an incentive tour group approved while others are rejected. Instead of paying much more to obtain Malaysian visas or go through unnecessary hassle, many tourists chose to visit other countries for their holidays or MICE events, negating the efforts made by Tourism Malaysia.
The sales mission to Kochi and Colombo is again supported by Tourism Malaysia, as its South India office also covers Sri Lanka.