Malaysia has launched a new visa scheme that allows Indian passport holders to get an e-visa for a 15-day stay within 48 hours
Tourism Malaysia is promoting sustainable tourism and niche travel products in India and aims to attract one million Indian visitors this year.
A Malaysian delegation, led by Minister of Tourism and Culture Mohamed Nazi Abdul Aziz participated in the 24th edition of the South Asia Travel and Tourism Exchange (SATTE 2017) in New Delhi.
Indian tourists need only pay $20 for a 15-day trip. He said that Indians would be issued visas within 48 hours from 1 April. Nazi said that this would be announced by Malaysian Prime Minister during his official trip to India in April.
He held the view that e-visa application fees Indians were charged was dissuading them from visiting this Southeast Asian country.
He was quoted by The Star Online as saying that the company handling the e-visa applications of Indians was charging an additional $61 (RM270) per application in addition to the $24.5 (RM108) paid to the governments of Malaysia and India.
Nazi added that Indian tourists could visit Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam visa-free. He felt that reduction in the number of flights to India by Malaysia Airlines was also one of the factors leading to the decline in the number of Indian tourists visiting Malaysia.
He said he was not sure if Malaysia Airlines was operating flights daily or twice to Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi.
On the contrary, Thai Airways was operating regular flights to India owing to which Thailand was able to draw around 1.2 million to 1.3 million Indian tourists, he added.
Nazi said 2.83 million tourists from India visited Malaysia between 2012 and 2015, while India received 976,000 Malaysian tourists.
But the number of tourists from India declined to 638,578 in 2016 from 722,141 in 2015, he stated.
Nazi stated that he was currently talking to Mal indo Air and Air Asia to increase more flights between Malaysia and India.