Malaysia’s introduction of multiple-entry visas for up to 15 days for Indian tourists has received positive feedback from the trade, as members see greater potential to position the country as a hub for intra-region packages.
KL Tan, vice president, inbound and domestic at Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (MATTA), said: “Travel agents and tour operators should capitalise on packages not only in Malaysia but ASEAN, as the multiple-entry visa allows tourists from India to use Malaysia as a hub to visit neighbouring countries. We hope to attract more Indian tourists to Malaysia and ASEAN.”
Bohey Dulang Island near Sipadan. Sabah Borneo
Ganneesh Ramaa, manager, Luxury Tours Malaysia, concurred: “Multiple-entry visa of 15 days is good enough for a genuine tourist to visit multiple destinations in ASEAN using Malaysia as a hub. Both Malindo Air and AirAsia offer attractive airfares.
“Without the multiple-entry visa, we lose out to Bali as Indian tourists used Kuala Lumpur as a transit to continue their journey onwards to Denpasar. (The new visa move) also makes Malaysia more competitive with regional destinations. Indonesia and Thailand, for example offers free visa on arrival,” he added.
At the same time, MATTA president Hamzah Rahmat is urging state tourism offices nationwide to leverage the latest visa initiative and promote their destinations. He said: “Not many Indian tourists are familiar with destinations beyond the traditional such as Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, Penang and Resorts World Genting.”
On its part, MATTA will continue with its new initiative of organising sales missions in South Asia, encompassing its association members, hoteliers and local attraction operators. Tan said: “We wish to introduce new destinations such as Perak, Negri Sembilan, Malacca, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak to provide an opportunity for SME agencies to participate in the Indian market.”
For India, sales missions are planned for Bangaluru, Chennai and Kochi and in August, and Kolkata, Hyderabad and Visakapatnam in November.