PETALING JAYA: Malaysia should be proactive and emulate other countries in waiving visa fees for tourists during certain seasons so that more will come to the country, says Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng (pix).
“Look at Thailand which waived its visa fee of 2,000 bahts (RM274) for tourists arriving between November and January 2019 which has proven to be effective in boosting its tourism revenue,“ he told theSun.
The Thai government waived the visa fee for tourists in November last year and now it is extending its waiver period until the end of October this year.
Lim said Russia is now following suit by providing electronic visas for free.
Lim said Malaysia should look into waiving the visa fee completely to draw in more tourists.
“The world has seen the success of this programme in Thailand and Russia is adopting it. Malaysia must look into waiving the visa fee completely to draw in more tourists,“ he said, adding that Malaysia imposes a variable fee of between RM6.50 to RM50 on foreign visitors, depending on their country of origin.
“We should at least look at implementing it for the ‘winter’ months, and to immediately promote it heavily to potential visitors who are seeking to escape the cold,” Lim said.
He pointed out that waiving visa fees for tourists in the country would be a boon that may help spur economic growth.
“Tourism brought nearly RM42 billion in the first half of the year. Even a low 5% increase in tourist spending would generate an additional is RM2 billion in receipts for the country,“ he said.
“This huge amount will definitely go a long way in helping our economy and the trickle down effect will surely reach our B40 community,“ Lim added.
The Russian government recently announced that it will offer free electronic visas to visitors from 53 countries including Malaysia starting next month, in an attempt to boost tourism receipts for the country.