In order to stem the decline in tourist numbers from India to Malaysia over the last one year, the Government of Malaysia will take proactive steps to address key issues related to the visa regime. Agreeing that there has been a slowdown in tourist traffic from India to Malaysia, Dato Seri Mohammed Nazri, Minister for Tourism & Culture, Malaysia, in an interaction with TravelBiz Monitor said that his government is committed to address the visa issues as early as possible.
Also, the Tourism Minister mentioned that he will take up the issue of reciprocal e-Visa for Malaysian tourists in India during his meeting with the Indian counterpart. Malaysia, he said, has the largest Indian diaspora outside India.“I hope the Indian government makes it easy for Malaysians considering the cultural and other relationships between the two countries,” he said.
He said that the Malaysia government accorded e-Visa facility to Indian visitors last year, but the message hasn’t been properly communicated to the market. The e-Visa facility has also been extended to Indian passport holders settled outside India, he said. “An announcement to that effect has been made by our Deputy Prime Minister in Qatar last week,” he said. With e-Visa, Indian travellers can avail Malaysian visa within 48 hours of e-filing the application, he said.
However, he conceded that the disparity in visa fee for citizens of different countries has come to his notice and he will try to convince the government to “standardise” the fee. While a Chinese traveller has to pay USD 25 for a multiple-entry visa to Malaysia, the same is available for an Indian traveller at USD 60. “I want to ensure it (visa fee) is standardised,” he said.
While other countries in the region like Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia are making things easy to capture the Indian outbound, Malaysia cannot afford to make it difficult for travellers, he stated.