Malaysia urged to relax visa service fee on Indians

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Kuala Lumpur | 31Aug 2015 | Asia Samachar |

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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, reports Malaysian newspaper The Star.

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 was quoted by the report, adding that the service fee introduced two years ago was putting potential tourists off.

In an earlier report, Malaysia’s Malindo Air was said to be planning to launch its flight between Amritsar and Kuala Lumpur from October.

Airport Director V Venkateshwar Rao told The Tribune that the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has accepted the request of the airline to set up a counter and an office in the vicinity of the airport.

The latest call by the the Malaysian Indian Tour and Travel Association follows an earlier suggestion by Tourism Malaysia chairman Wee Choo Keong last week for 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 told the report.

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, the report added.

 

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