Motac expects higher revenue from China, India tourist arrivals

The increased arrivals are expected to boost earnings for the industry via services and F&B segments

by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK/ pic by BERNAMA

THE Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) anticipates higher tourism revenue from the rise of tourist arrivals from China and India following the implementation of visa-free entry.

Motac Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi (picture) said while no extra expenditure was incurred from the visa exemption, the increased arrivals are expected to boost earnings for the tourism industry via services and food and beverage (F&B) segments.

“I (do not) have a set number of targeted increase against last year, but hopefully with the exemption, there will be an increase in the tourist expenditure receipts,” he said at the Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020) vehicle stickers launch in Kuala Lumpur last Friday.

He said the revenue for the campaign will be reliant on the amount of tourist arrivals and how much they spend in the country.

“If we can get more than the preset target of 30 million tourist arrivals, then it means our revenue from this campaign will also be more than expected.

“I wouldn’t say the visa exemption has shown much effect, considering we’ve only just walked into the New Year. However, we are definitely looking at a boost compared to last year,” he added.

The visa-free entry, or free visa, for Chinese and Indian tourists was a suggestion that had been pitched by the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) since Visit Malaysia Year in 2014.

Matta president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said the tourists have been exempted from applying for a visa since 2016 if they are registered under the Electronic Travel Registration and Information system, and may stay up to 15 days.

“Although they don’t pay for a normal visa, they are required to pay for registration.

“We ought to grant them a normal visa-free entry with just their passports, as accorded to nationals of other 164 countries. If not, they should not be charged for registration to make such visas totally free of charge,” Tan explained.

Tourism Malaysia is looking at a 7% increase of tourist arrivals from China and India, which are among the largest markets for the country’s tourism industry.

For VM2020, Tourism Malaysia aims for approximately 3.26 million Chinese tourists and 683,000 Indian tourists.

From January to September 2019, 2.41 million tourists from China and 539,167 tourists from India were recorded.

Meanwhile, Matta launched its VM2020 vehicle sticker that will be on display on tour buses, excursion vans and offices.

Tan said there are many reasons to work closely with the government to ensure the VM2020 campaign’s success, as tourism industry players in the private sector are the direct beneficiaries.

“But more importantly, its economic impact ripples across all industries. As such, all of us here have important roles to play in nation-building,” he said.

He added that the launch of the stickers is considered as more than a symbolic move.

“It is part of Matta’s initiative in supporting VM2020. We truly hope to see more tourist arrivals on our shores, whether by air, land or sea,” he said.

Matta has engaged in activities to promote Malaysia to new and high potential markets, which include but not limited to Asean countries, India, China and European nations, especially from the Balkans, Poland and Hungary.

The association together with the ministry and Tourism Malaysia have also made the effort to increase Malaysia’s presence at global trade shows, such as Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin and World Travel Market London.

Matta also has an extensive affiliation with regional tourism associations such as the Asean Tourism Association and the Federation of Asean Travel Associations, while also being the only Asian member of the European Travel Agents and Tour Operators Association.