KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 7): Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing suggested on Tuesday that Malaysia should consider providing visa-on-arrival for visitors from all countries to remain competitive in the global tourism industry.
The country should be sensitive to market trends and allow such re-opening initiatives as the local tourism industry was still recovering from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, he added.
He was confident that Malaysian authorities were capable of coping with passenger surges and maintaining order at entry points across the country, adding that security should not be used as a pretext to hinder tourist arrivals.
“It projects the wrong image for our country...by not preparing for and welcoming the return of a large influx of tourists to Malaysia.
“I urge the Home Ministry to immediately look into expanding visa-on-arrival for all countries, especially China and India, to prevent us from losing our competitiveness within the region,” he said in a statement containing key points of his keynote address at the 2023 ASEAN Tourism Forum in Yogyakarta, Indonesia that ended on Tuesday.
Tiong also said changes to current immigration policies and mechanisms should be done together with the adaptation of local tourism products and services to enable the tourism industry to better attract tourists.
The joint promotion of multi-destination tourism at the price of a single travel package, which he believed could boost the attractiveness of the region’s tourism industry as a whole, was being discussed in bilateral meetings with Indonesia’s Tourism Minister and the Minister of State of Singapore.
"At the same time, we are also actively discussing the cooperation of checkpoint procedures to allow for more tourist arrivals and jointly expand economic cooperation in tourism, arts, and culture to provide further tourism dividends in Asean,” he added.