Top News Malaysia’s open-door visa-free initiative fuels tourism rebound confidence By S Puvaneswary / Posted on 28 November, 2023 11:50 The Malaysian travel and tourism community is hailing the government’s latest 30-day visa-free decision for a swathe of nationalities as the catalyst for the country’s tourism recovery. The Malaysian government announced this week that 30-day visa-free entry will be granted from December 1 to visitors from China, India, Turkiye, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iran, and Iraq. Malaysia’s latest visa-free entry arrangement is expected to lift inbound numbers; Kuala Lumpur cityscape AirAsia has been swift to announce a substantial expansion of its services connecting China and Malaysia, as well as India and Malaysia throughout 1Q2024. Parent company Capital A CEO Tony Fernandes described the visa-free move as a “forward-thinking initiative” by the Malaysian leadership. Shaharuddin M Saaid, executive director, Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners, emphasised the significance of the government’s “open-door” policy for countries that are identified as key tourist markets for Malaysia. However, he underscored the importance of ensuring an adequate number of flights and available seats to facilitate the influx of tourists into the country. This is especially crucial in building momentum for the upcoming Visit Malaysia Year 2026. Shaharuddin opined that the success of this endeavour hinges on the seamless coordination of travel infrastructure to accommodate the anticipated surge in tourist arrivals. Sabah’s chief minister, Hajiji Noor, is hopeful that the 30-day visa-free entry policy for visitors from China and India would assist in the tourism recovery of the state, which year-to-date had achieved 85.6 per cent of its tourism target.