Matta wants e-visa facility extended to tourists from India

KUALA LUMPUR: Following the official launch of the electronic visa (e-visa) for China, the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) now seeks to extend the service to another potential market, India, to help boost Malaysia's slowing economy.

Its president Datuk Hamzah Rahmat has urged the Home Ministry to extend the service as soon as possible, as it would help boost the number of tourist arrivals.

He said the introduction of the e-visa is a good move to stimulate more arrivals into the country, as tourists will no longer have to go through the hassle of making a manual application.

"With the influx of tourists coming in, we believe our economy can recover faster," he told a press conference at Matta's headquarters today.

Hamzah however said that at the moment, e-visa applicants can only apply from their home country (China), but assured that they are pushing for a better system to allow applications be made from anywhere.

He also predicted that the second half of the year will see things improving, explaining that many in the industry are now more equipped and well-prepared following a "somewhat similar" situation they faced in the 1997 Asian economic crisis.

E-visa is for applicants with a stay not exceeding 30 days and is a more secured option compared to another online method, electronic travel registration and information (Entri), as applications will be processed by the ministry, allowing applicants to find out if there are any problems with their travels.

Processing fee for e-visas is at 200 yuan (RM128) and will be processed within 24 hours, while ENTRI services are charged a fee of 160 yuan (RM102) and processed immediately.