KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 — China is expected to allow Malaysians 15 days’ of visa-free travel there starting from next month, while China’s citizens are expected to be allowed 30 days’ visa-free entry to Malaysia.
The reciprocal visa-free travel was first reported locally by vernacular newspaper Sin Chew Daily, which cited an unnamed Cabinet source.
The source reportedly said Malaysia’s granting of the 30-day visa-free entry to China’s travellers is aimed at helping Malaysia achieve its target of getting 25 million international tourists.
Sin Chew cited the source as saying that China has 120 million persons who could afford to travel abroad, and that Malaysia's government is aiming to have the tourism industry fully recover to pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels and to have it become the country's second-highest contributor by the year 2025.Separately, China’s English-language newspaper China Daily reported that Malaysia is among six countries to be given visa-free entry in the next 12 months.
China Daily cited China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning as announcing today that the country will offer visa-free entry to travellers bearing ordinary passports from Malaysia, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain from December 1 this year to November 30 next year.
She was reported saying that citizens from these countries will be able to enter and stay in China without a visa for a maximum of 15 days for the purposes of business, tourism, visiting family and for transit.
Malay Mail’s checks of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Malaysia’s website showed multiple notices of China’s new visa policy, including one in both English and Malay announcing the 15-day visa-free policy to be implemented for Malaysians with ordinary passports from December 1, 2023 to November 30, 2024 only if they enter China for “business, tourism, family visit and transit purposes” and do not stay more than 15 days.
According to notices on the embassy’s website, Malaysians who plan to stay more than 15 days in China will still have to apply for a visa to enter the country.
Malaysians with ordinary passports who travel to China for other purposes such as “study, employment, permanent residence, study visit, news coverage” must still apply for a visa to enter the country.
The embassy also said that visas which have been issued by China to Malaysian citizens are still valid, and that visa applications that have already been submitted will be processed normally. (Previously, the embassy had this year resumed issuing business visas for up to three years’ validity and family visit visas of up to five years’ validity to eligible Malaysians and tourist visas of up to one year’s validity to eligible Malaysians).
The embassy said those with inquiries can contact the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre in Kuala Lumpur at 03-2176 0888 during weekdays from 9am to 4pm or by email at [email protected].
The embassy yesterday also updated its guide titled “How to Apply Visa to China” and its “Frequently Asked Questions on Applying for a Chinese Visa”.
Malaysia's tourist arrivals had been above 25 million individuals every year during the 2012 to 2019 period, with the highest being 27.44 million in 2014, based on Tourism Malaysia's figures.
But after recording 26.1 million tourist arrivals in 2019, Malaysia's tourism took a hit during the Covid-19 pandemic years, with just 4.33 million in 2020, 0.13 million in 2021, and 10.07 million tourists in 2022, Tourism Malaysia's figures show.
Malay Mail's checks of Tourism Malaysia figures also show China being the third-highest contributor of international tourists to Malaysia in 2019 at over 3.11 million visitors, behind Singapore (10.16 million) and Indonesia (3.6 million).
Out of the RM86.1 billion tourist receipts recorded by Malaysia in 2019, China's 3.11 million tourists contributed RM15.3 billion in tourism spending. This would translate to RM4,921 per capita spending or average spending per traveller from China.
The average stay of tourists from China in Malaysia in 2019 is 6.4 nights, Tourism Malaysia's figures show.
Previously in written parliamentary replies on June 7, the Home Ministry said Malaysia did not plan to exempt tourists from China and India from having visas, and that those two countries also impose visa requirements on Malaysians who travel there.
The Home Ministry had also on the same day in a written parliamentary reply said Visa On Arrival (VOA) is provided only to tourists from China and India who come in through a third country namely Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei.
The Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry had also on June 7 said in a written parliamentary reply that this Single Entry Visa provided to those tourists from China and India — via a third country (Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei) allows them to remain in Malaysia for a maximum 15 days via 13 entry and exit points in the country.