Malaysia is planning to enhance visa-on-arrival facilities by expanding VOA privileges beyond special charter flights.
As part of the strategy to enhance Malaysia’s appeal to tourists, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) is in discussions with the Ministry of Home Affairs (KDN) with a formal announcement of enhanced facilities by KDN expected in January 2024.
This initiative aims to contribute to the target of nearly 26.1 million tourists during Visit Malaysia Year 2026.
Faeez Fadhlillah, CEO and co-founder of the travel booking engine Tripfez, said that the move by the government to introduce the VOA for Chinese and Indian tourists is “a much-needed step to increase the number of tourists in Malaysia”.
“Malaysia is already lagging behind neighbouring countries like Thailand which had a head start by introducing the [VOA] policy much earlier,” he added.
For the first quarter of 2023, Malaysia received 178,150 Chinese tourists, compared with 3,624 in the same period last year, with 203 flights per week currently operating between the two countries.
Fadhlillah said that that the VOA move, coupled with the increasing number of direct flights from India and China would increase Malaysia’s overall competitive edge and make it a destination of choice by tourists from these countries.
As an initial step, MOTAC has relaxed the terms and conditions for its eVOA applicable to tourists arriving via charter flights from China and India. To apply for this eVOA, MOTAC-registered travel agencies must submit their group travel details online via the Malaysian Immigration Department (JIM) at least 10 days before entering Malaysia.
Verification and approval take five days, with payment approval needed no later than three days before entry, at a rate of RM200 (US$43) per visitor.