India has hiked the tourist visa fees for Malaysians to RM462.60 (US$156.30) since July 1, leading some trade members to speculate that leisure outbound interest to the destination may suffer.
The fee hike will also come with an increased stay period covered by the multi-entry visa, from the existing six months (at a price of RM194.60) to a year.
On June 25, the eVisa fee was also increased from US$50 to US$80, valid for 120 days.
Anand Arun, development director at Anand Travels, said the sudden increase in visa fee caught the travel trade by surprise.
He shared: “It will definitely have an impact on Malaysian families travelling to India during the peak year-end travel period. Sri Lanka and Nepal stand to gain as their visa fees are much cheaper. It costs only RM95 for 15-day single-entry visa to Nepal.”
K Thangavelu, president, Malaysian Indian Tour & Travel Association (MITTA), expects the new visa application fee to deter Malaysians who intend to visit India once for sightseeing and who are not regular visitors.
He added: “Book early and you can get low-cost flights to Indian cities to Tiruchirappalli and Kochi for less than the visa price.”
Together with other travel associations in Malaysia, MITTA plans to meet with the Indian High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur to request for the earlier fee of 194.60 ringgit to be reinstated.
The processing fee was raised to RM457 on April 1, 2017, Thangavelu shared, but after talks between MITTA and the Indian High Commissioner to Kuala Lumpur, the previous fee of RM194.60 was reinstated.