Malaysia Grants | Visa-Free Entry to Chinese & Indian Nationals

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The move follows a significant surge in tourist arrivals, reaching 9.16 million between January and June, with notable increases from China and India.

KAULA LUMPUR: Starting from December 1, 2023, Malaysia grants visa-free entry to citizens from China and India for stays of up to 30 days, effective until December 31, 2024.

China, reciprocally, plans to offer visa-free access to individuals from Malaysia, as well as France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain from December 1, 2023, to November 30, 2024.

Starting from December 1, Malaysia will allow citizens from China and India to enter visa-free for stays The visa exemptions will remain in effect until December 31, 2024. The measure is being introduced after Malaysia observed a surge in tourist arrivals, reaching 9.16 million between January and June this year, with notable increases from China (498,540) and India (283,885) compared to the pre-pandemic period of 2019.

According to local media, China and India rank as Malaysia’s fourth- and fifth-largest tourist contributors.

Malaysia may see a boost in its tourism revenues in the next few months as its visa-free travel that started on Friday may entice more Chinese and Indians to visit the country.

The increased revenues can help prop up Southeast Asia’s third-biggest economy, offsetting a slowdown in exports, analysts say.

“If there is a sudden surge in Chinese and Indian travelers for both leisure and business because of the visa-free travel, it’s going to move the needle,” Wan Suhaimie Wan Mohd Saidie, head of economic research at Kenanga Investment Bank in Malaysia, said.

However, the huge increase in tourist arrivals will not happen anytime soon because the visa-free policy was only launched this month, Wan Suhaimie said.

“It may take some time for the traffic flow to build up. Perhaps we may see more clarity after the first quarter of 2024.”

Winston Liaw Kit Siong, chairman of the Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents in Malaysia, said the country’s economy would “be much better” next year because increased tourists arrivals will help the economy to gain more momentum.

On Nov 26, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said his country is allowing visa-free entry to citizens of China and India for stays of up to 30 days from this month.

The visa exemptions would last until Dec 31 next year, the Home Affairs Ministry said.

Anwar said the visa-free travel is in line with next year’s celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China. He also thanked China for allowing visa-free travel for Malaysian citizens.

Malaysia received more than 10 million tourists last year, less than half of the more than 26 million recorded in 2010.

This year, the country had aimed for 16.1 million tourist arrivals, with projected tourism receipts of $10.5 billion. That target has been surpassed, with the immigration department reporting 26 million arrivals from Jan 1 to Nov 15, the national news agency Bernama

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