Malaysia Grants Visa-Free Entry to Indians

Close on the heels of Sri Lanka and Thailand, Malaysia is set to grant visa-free entry to Indians for stays of up to 30 days starting December 1, according to Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

Visa Exemption for Indians and Chinese Until 2024

The visa exemption, which has also been extended to Chinese citizens, will be in effect until December 31, 2024. Prime Minister Ibrahim made this announcement during a speech at his People’s Justice Party congress on Sunday.

India and China are among Malaysia’s top five source markets for tourism. According to the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board, the country recorded 91 lakh tourist arrivals until June this year, with around five lakh from China and 2.8 lakh from India.

Post-Pandemic Recovery and Tourist Arrival Targets

Malaysia, positive about its post-pandemic recovery, aims to achieve 1.5 crore foreign tourist arrivals this year, as stated by Malaysian government officials. Notably, several West Asian countries, such as Turkey and Jordan, already enjoy a 30-day visa-free entry into Malaysia.

Malaysia boasts a 29 lakh-strong overseas Indian community, including Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and NRIs. Reflecting an upswing in ties between the two nations, Prime Minister Ibrahim is expected to travel to India in the first half of next year.

India: Asia’s Largest Outbound Travel Market in 2022

India emerged as the largest source market for outbound travellers in Asia in 2022, with the top five destinations being the UAE, Saudi Arabia, USA, Singapore, and Thailand. This significant group includes a large chunk of diaspora travellers.

Prime Minister Ibrahim clarified that the 30-day visa exemption for Indian and Chinese travellers will be subject to security clearance. Initial screenings will be conducted, and individuals with criminal records or the risk of terrorism will not be allowed to enter.

Sri Lanka’s Pilot Project for Tourism Boost

In October, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Sabry, announced visa-free entry for visitors from seven countries, including India and China, under a pilot project. The exemption will continue until March 31 next year, aiming to boost tourism recovery in the crisis-hit country with a target of 50 lakh arrivals by 2026.

According to the latest data from the Sri Lanka Development Authority, India is the largest source of tourists with over 2 lakh arrivals so far this year, followed by Russia with 1.32 lakh arrivals.



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