Chinese tourist arrivals to Malaysia are on the rise again after the slowdown in 2015 – and better visa service is partly responsible for this growth.

Tourism Malaysia chairman Datuk Dr Siew Ka Wei said the growth trend can be attributed to improvements made to visa services, following Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s announcement to facilitate the matter.

“The Prime Minister’s visits to China and India recently and his call to ease travel formalities for Chinese and Indian tourists was timely and helped to boost confidence in these two markets for travel to Malaysia,” he said.

Siew added that visa arrangements are critical for the convenience of travellers, and the facilities provided are expected to ease travel preparations.

China and India nationals can now apply for e-visa (electronic visa), eNTRI (Electronic Travel Registration and Information) or VOA (Visa on Arrival), depending on the purpose of their visit to Malaysia.

Since the e-visa and visa-free programmes were launched in March last year, response has been positive. Between March 2016 and April 2017, a total of 284,606 e-visa applications and 323,173 eNTRI applications were received.

Meanwhile, the number of visas approved for Indian tourists shot up by 91.1% following the PM’s visit to India in April, from 36,442 visas approved in March to 69,635 visas approved in April from China nationals.

Najib agreed that approved e-visa applications are also valid for multiple entries. The Home Affairs Ministry is currently working on the final details of the two-week multiple entry visa-free visit to Malaysia.

Online visa applications for tourists to Malaysia are processed by the Immigration Department and can be made at www.windowmalaysia.my. – Chester Chin