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Relax visa service fee to lure more Indian tourists

Posted on September 28, 2015
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The visa service fee imposed on Indian nationals needs to be relaxed if Malaysia wants to catch the wave of Indian tourists, says the Malaysian Indian Tour and Travel Association.

Its president K. Thangavelu said visa application hampered tourist arrivals as it was both expensive and difficult to obtain.

An Indian national needs to pay 1,000 rupees (RM63) for visa fee and an additional 2,500 rupees (RM158) for the service fee.

“This does not include the travel agents’ commission, which is usually about 500 rupees (RM31).”

He said the service fee, which was introduced two years ago, was putting potential tourists off.

His call followed that made last week by Tourism Malaysia chairman Wee Choo Keong, who had urged that Chinese tourists be exempted from paying the service charge of 120 yuan (RM79) to an outfit known as SPPV One Stop Centre when applying for visas to Malaysia. The amount, he said, was higher than the visa application fee of 80 yuan (RM53) charged by the Malaysian government.

Thangavelu suggested a reduction in the service fee or Visa on Arrival (VoA) for Indian nationals to ease entry.

Malaysia now offers VoA only for Indian tourists entering Malaysia from another country, via air entry points in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor Baru, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu at US$100 (RM417) for up to seven days’ stay.

“Malaysia is now one of the least expensive countries to visit. If we let this opportunity pass, we will lose out to our neighbours,” he said.

According to Tourism Malaysia, 643,335 from India visited Malaysia between January and October last year – a 20.7% increase over the same period in 2013.

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