Malaysia and China are poised to introduce a visa-free travel arrangement that will benefit citizens of both nations. Under this arrangement, Malaysians will be allowed 15 days of visa-free travel to China, while Chinese citizens will enjoy 30 days of visa-free entry to Malaysia. The implementation of this travel arrangement is anticipated to commence next month.
A source from the Malaysian Cabinet revealed this development, stating that the official announcement regarding China’s granting of 15-day visa-free travel for Malaysians is imminent. This reciprocal arrangement aims to support Malaysia’s goal of attracting 25 million international tourists and further boost its tourism industry.
The source emphasized that China has approximately 120 million individuals with the means to travel abroad. The Malaysian government aspires to fully restore its tourism industry to pre-COVID-19 levels and position it as the country’s second-largest contributor by 2025.
Additionally, China Daily reported that Malaysia is among six countries set to receive visa-free entry to China in the next 12 months. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mao Ning, announced that citizens holding ordinary passports from Malaysia, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain will enjoy visa-free entry to China from December 1 this year to November 30 next year. This visa-free access is granted for purposes such as business, tourism, visiting family, and transit, allowing travelers to stay in China for a maximum of 15 days.
Malaysia’s tourism sector experienced significant fluctuations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After consistently welcoming over 25 million tourists annually from 2012 to 2019, the numbers sharply declined to 4.33 million in 2020, 0.13 million in 2021, and 10.07 million in 2022. China was the third-largest contributor of international tourists to Malaysia in 2019, with over 3.11 million visitors.
During this period, Chinese tourists contributed RM15.3 billion in tourism spending, equivalent to RM4,921 per capita. The average stay of Chinese tourists in Malaysia in 2019 was 6.4 nights. Malaysia’s decision to implement visa-free travel for Chinese citizens and receive reciprocal treatment is expected to revitalize the tourism industry and foster closer ties between the two nations.