Malaysia relaxing visa-restrictions for Chinese tourists
- Posted by Daniel Meesak
- On 26th November 2015
- china, flights, laws, malaysia, policy, regulations, visa
The Malaysian government has announced changes to its visa-free policy for Chinese tourists. Under the previous set of rules, Chinese nationals were granted visa-free entry on arrival if they were arriving in groups of at least 20 people. The new policy, however, will lower the bar for visa-free entry on arrival to groups of two Chinese visitors or more, in practice enabling any Chinese person travel with a friend or spouse to legally enter Malaysia without arranging a visa in advance.
The new visa-free entry for groups of two Chinese tourists or more limits the stay to 15 days, requires a return ticket to China, and is only valid by direct entry to a Malaysian airport, thus not making a difference for Chinese tourists that may enter by land from Singapore to the south or Thailand to the north.
In response to allegations that Chinese nationals arriving to Malaysian airports being asked to pay an entry-fee of between RM 500 (EUR 112) and RM 1000 (EUR 224) to immigration officials, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz said that “if the claim is true, it is an embarrassment”, and urged Chinese nationals subject to such treatment to lodge a complaint with the Malaysian tourism office.
China is Malaysia’s third biggest tourism market, with 1.6 million arrivals in 2014, only behind neighboring countries Singapore and Indonesia. Earlier this month, a new direct air connection between China and Malaysia was established through Air China, increasing the number of flights between the two countries to 195 per week.
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Source: The New Straits Times