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Visa-Free Travel Is On The Cards

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PETALING JAYA: Doing away with visa requirements for China nationals will top the agenda in a meeting between the travel industry and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Hamzah Rahmat said this proposal would be included in a memorandum the body will submit to the Prime Minister on Aug 27.

It will be the first meeting between MATTA and the Prime Minister.

Hamzah said an earlier proposal to allow visa-free travel for China tour groups had yet to be implemented.

“It’s been almost two months since the announcement but we have not heard anything more about it,” he said.

In June, the Cabinet decided on visa exemption for China tour groups on a trial basis but no date was fixed.

Hamzah said the local tourist industry had been hard-hit with a 30% drop in business this year, adding that this could have been averted if the proposal had been implemented.

“We would have been seeing more Chinese tourists spending their money here,” he said.

Hamzah said MATTA would also propose that the Government implement an online visa application system similar to that in Australia and for multiple visa entry applications.

“Cutting red tape to allow ease of travel will allow Malaysia to compete with other countries for the tourism dollars,” he said.

For the upcoming MATTA Fair to be held from Sept 4 to 6 at PWTC, Hamzah said the body had asked the national tourism boards taking part to include goodies or better deals to offset the weakening value of the ringgit.

The national boards of Indonesia, Hong Kong, Turkey and Taiwan will be among those coming for the fair.

Hamzah said there would be more emphasis on domestic tourism this time.

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