Published on : Thursday, January 8, 2015
Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Hamzah Rahmat welcomes the report that the Cabinet had agreed in principle to ease visa requirements for tourists from China.
“However, the paybacks will be minimal if done half-heartedly by just waiving visa fees. There is no better proof of our sincerity by granting visa exemption for tourists coming to Malaysia”, Hamzah advised.
“Merely waiving visa fee does not remove the hassle and cost of applying for one, as eighty
percent of the charges are pocketed by middlemen and third parties”, he pointed out.
Hamzah added “For example, the Nepalese government had just closed Malaysia VLN Nepal, a visa processing company operating within the premises of the Malaysian Embassy in Kathmandu because of ‘shady deals”.
“Any such arrangement that benefits third party can be a big embarrassment for our country and dents the image of Malaysia, he lamented.
“On the other hand, granting visa exemption not only boosts tourist arrivals but also
businessmen and investors into our country as they are highly sensitive to impediments and nuances”, said Hamzah.
“This is a much needed shot-in-the-arm for agencies under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, such as Malaysian Investment Development Authority and Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation”, he stated.
“We have already missed out many opportunities and more would be lost if we continue
dragging our feet, and may even miss the boat entirely as recovery would be difficult once we have sunk too low”, Hamzah warned.
“For almost a year now, MATTA had campaigned hard and was encouraged by all round
support. The light at the end of the tunnel may be in sight but is too slow.
We are already
missing out the hordes of China tourists over the coming Chinese New Year period”, he
“A recent survey by Travelzoo, which has 27m members worldwide, revealed that the Chinese will travel the most, taking an average of 6.4 leisure trips in 2015 and spending an average of US$8,558”.
“Granting visa exemption is vital in achieving the target of 29.4m visitors and RM89b in
Tour operators are ready to support the efforts of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism but could be frustrated by another ministry operating in a silo”.
“It is imperative that an announcement be made at the next Cabinet meeting which would
empower Malaysia to be just as competitive with our Asean neighbours vying for China tourists and investments”.
Tags: Malaysia Will Miss The Boat By Further, Malaysian Association of Tour And Travel Agents