Wooing Indian tourists with visa-free entry

Malaysia has joined the list of nations offering visa-free travel to Indian citizens, extending this privilege until December 31, 2024, with a 30-day allowable stay from the date of entry. The aim of this initiative is to simplify travel for Indians, who have become a noteworthy tourist demographic in Malaysia in recent years. Currently, around 26 countries, according to industry sources, provide visa-free entry to Indian citizens for various purposes.

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism has become a central focus for Malaysia\’s recovery strategy. Despite challenges faced by Malaysia\’s tourism sector, renowned for scenic spots like the Langkawi beaches, during the pandemic with travel restrictions and visa complications impacting the industry, the country, under the leadership of the Anwar Ibrahim government, is actively working to restore its prominence in the tourism sector. According to the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board, in 2022, 10.7 million visitors chose Malaysia, contributing over $28 billion to the economy. This recovery is starkly apparent when compared to the peak COVID period in 2021, when only 0.13 million tourists visited Malaysia. The strategic introduction of the visa-free facility for Indian (and Chinese) travelers is aimed at enhancing the country\’s appeal to leisure seekers from two major Asian economies.

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