• Malaysia waived the visa requirements for Chinese tourists in a bid to revive its tourism industry and boost its economy.

Malaysia waived the visa requirements for Chinese tourists in a bid to revive its tourism industry and boost its economy. (Photo : REUTERS)

Visitors from China may soon be able to come to Malaysia without visa after the Southeast Asian country scraps the visa requirements for Chinese tourists, starting in March, China Daily reported.

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The report said that the measure was aimed at reviving Malaysia's tourism industry and build up its economy.

Li Zhongping, head of GTC Travel Group, welcomed the development, saying that the new policy is the right move.

"All the people in the industry are dreaming about waiving the visa," Li said. "We hope this announcement is final and really can help boom the inbound tourism for Malaysia, to bring a lot of China tourists to help the local economy."

The Malaysian government has adopted a series of measures to attract more Chinese tourists to the country over the past years, which included waiving visa fees and introducing an e-visa scheme for visitors from China.

According to the report, the measures were aimed at reversing the drop in the number of Chinese tourists visiting the country since the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in March 2014 with 154 Chinese passengers on board.

Hamzah Rahmat, head of the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents, however, noted that some of these previous measures may not have been properly implemented.

"The government officials from the other ministries other than the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, they really need to understand what tourism is all about and what tourism brings to the country, especially the economy of the country," Rahmat said.

Rahmat hoped that the visa-free measure will be made permanent to turn the country into a favorite destination for Chinese tourists.

In an article published on malaymailonline.com on Feb. 3, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was quoted as saying that China welcomed Malaysia's proposal to implement eVisa and visa-free entry to draw more tourists from China.

Ahmad Zahid said he had signed a letter to effect the official validation by the Chinese government after meeting China's Public Security Minister Gou Shengkun and Communist Party of China's Political Centre secretary Meng Jiangzhu.

Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced on Jan. 26 that the Malaysian government will facilitate the entry of foreign tourists by expediting the implementation of eVisa to several countries.

The prime minister also announced that tourists from China do not require a visa to visit Malaysia, starting on March 1 up to Dec. 31, 2016, for a period of stay not exceeding 15 days. They are also required to register online individually or through travel agencies.

At present, Chinese authorities require e-visa applicants to submit their passports to the visa processing center with the visa to be attached to their passports.

The applicants also need to print out their special trip notes or entry after registering online, and their names will be shared by the Chinese authorities to enable checks by the Immigration Department in Malaysia.

The report said the measure is part of efforts to attract eight million Chinese tourists, with spending power of RMB22.1 billion, who come annually over the next five years.