Stringent visa rules hampering tourist arrivals, says Nancy

Tourism Malaysia Published 2 months ago on 17 November 2022 | Author TIN Media

Tourism, arts and culture minister Nancy Shukri said stringent visa requirements were hampering tourists from visiting the country.

She said the ministry was initially pleased with how the tourism industry was recovering after the borders reopened as it surpassed its target of attracting two million visitors in the first quarter of 2022.

“The situation later appeared (even more) promising, so we increased the target to 4.5 million visitors, and then to 9.2 million after a review,” she told FMT in an interview.

However, Nancy said she realised that the target might not be met because of stringent immigration rules.

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“We expected the country’s economy to be spurred by tourists who would be spending RM 26.8 billion, but it appears that entering the country was difficult for them, so they chose to travel elsewhere.

“I believe they were unable to enter the country because of visa issues,” she said.

This, she said, was something her ministry needed to work on with relevant agencies.

“Also, every industry player must come together and discuss what needs to be done so that our economy doesn’t deteriorate as this will make many people’s lives difficult.

“We don’t want Malaysia to be the people’s second or third choice of travel destination just because of visa issues,” she said.

With the global economy headed for a recession next year, Nancy said tourism could help keep the country’s economy afloat.

She also said the ministry had introduced two matching grant programmes that would help support the industry in drawing tourists.

These are the Geran Sepadan Sektor Pelancongan for tourism programmes and the Geran Sepadan Sektor Kebudayaan for cultural events.