The move, on a six-month-trial basis, is expected to be implemented this year to increase Malaysia’s competitiveness as compared to other neighbouring countries, said Tourism Malaysia (Planning) deputy director-general Chong Yoke Har.
“We found out that the competition is getting very very strong now, every market is paying special attention to China’s market.
“To show that we are interested in this market, we have to have more promotions, more touch base with local trades and consumers here,” she told Malaysian journalists after officiating the Malaysian pavilion at Beijing International Tourism Expo 2015 in Beijing, Friday.
Previously Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the cabinet on June 19 had agreed to grant visa waiver for Chinese tour groups on a trial basis to attract more Chinese travellers to visit Malaysia.
Meanwhile, HTC Travel Services Group chief executive officer Alex Yap welcomed the visa waiver announcement made by the government earlier for tour groups from China but hoped procedures such as the timeframe to register these tourists would be shortened.
The visa application process normally took three to four days to complete, he said, hoping that the visa-on-arrival (VoA) for Chinese tourists visiting Malaysia would be extended to every entry points in the country.
Currently the five air entry points that offered the VoA facility are the Bayan Lepas International Airport, Penang; Senai International Airport, Johor; Kota Kinabalu International Airport, Sabah; Kuching International Airport, Sarawak; and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA and KLIA2).
Apart from focusing on China’s second-tier cities such as Chengdu and Wuhan, she said a seminar was also conducted in Yinchuan city, the capital of Muslim Hui autonomous region of Ningxia, north-central China recently to introduce Malaysia as a country where the China’s Muslims could obtain halal food or products there.
Director of Tourism Malaysia’s Beijing Office Noran Ujang said niche tourism was also being promoted in China, where some 100 Chinese anglers would join a fishing competition in Rompin, Pahang on August 18 this year.