KUALA LUMPUR, 3 April 2017: Indian tourists will soon be given multiple entry visas for 15 days to allow them to use Malaysia as gateway to explore neighbouring countries.
By offering Indian travellers a multiple entry visa, they will be able to fly to Malaysia explore South Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia and return to Malaysia to catch flights back home.
The strategy will make Malaysia a gateway to explore ASEAN first for Indian tourists, who still require a visa. Based on its success, the multiple entry visa will be extended to other nationalities, the MalayMail Online report stated.
Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz described the move as a game changer for the tourism industry.
He promised the facility would also be extended to tourists from China and eventually other nationalities that need a visa to enter Malaysia.
It will also encourage more traffic on Malaysian airlines and their code-share airline partners in India, and make it more convenient to sell multiple sector fights covering ASEAN through the Kuala Lumpur gateway. If ASEAN nations allowed a single visa for Indians to visit all member countries it would unlock the full potential of India’s outbound market that ultimately challenge China as the top source market.
From January to October 2016, Malaysia welcomed 540,530 tourists from India — making it the sixth largest source market for Malaysia.
Visa applications can be made online and approved within 48 hours without the need to pay a fee.
Tourism Malaysia chairman Datuk Siew Ka Wei praised the multiple entry move, adding the dynamics to attract visitors had now changed.
“Malaysia will become a hub for all tourists travelling in the region,” Siew the MalayMail Online.
“Previously their schedule was determined by the single entry visa. Now they can make Malaysia their hub as they travel around the region.”
He added Malaysia was among the cheapest destination in the region and a good place for tourists to base themselves for 15 days.
Najib made the announcement after Malaysia and India signed six Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) last week for various industrial projects.