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Malaysia to grant Taiwanese tourists visa-free treatment?

February 4, 2011
Updated Saturday, February 5, 2011 8:23 pm TWN, The China Post news staff

Malaysia to grant tourists visa-free entrance: report

Malaysia has reportedly agreed to give Taiwan tourists visa-free treatment, the United Daily News reported yesterday, citing an Agence France-Presse report that quoted the Malaysian tourism chief.

“We plan to give Taiwanese tourists visa-free treatment, a move that will lure more travelers to Malaysia,” the report quoted the tourism chief, Huang Yen Yen, as saying.

According to Huang, Malaysia is aiming to lure 25 million tourists to the country this year, translating into tourism revenue of about 61 billion ringgit or about NT$582.9 billion.

Tourism is currently Malaysia’s second largest source of foreign exchange revenue, the report said. Taiwanese tourists to the Southeast Asian country totaled about 200,000 last year, it said.

Hsia Chi-chang, deputy spokesperson of Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), said he could not confirm the news when asked by reporters. The report, however, said that MOFA officials have privately acknowledged that Malaysia has in principle agreed to give Taiwan visa-free status, yet the timing and other details have yet to be announced.

If the plan is adopted, Malaysia will be the 98th country to give Taiwan visa-free treatment.

Typically, visa-free entrance to Malaysia allows a stay of 14, 30 or 90 days and is given to casual travelers as well as those traveling with a special purpose.

Once visa-free entrance is allowed, Taiwan tourists to Malaysia will increase by 20 to 30 percent, the paper said, quoting tourism operators.

Currently, Malaysia’s top destinations for Taiwanese travelers include Sabah, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi.

Taiwan has given Malaysian tourists visa-free treatment since 2002. Last year, Malaysian tourists to Taiwan grew by a bigger margin than those from other countries, including mainland China, the report said.

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