Jan 29, 2024

Malaysia Joins Thailand & Sri Lanka In Granting Visa-Free Entry For Indians


Many of you must be organizing your long-overdue holiday as 2023 comes to an end. If so, there's excellent news.

Malaysia has just become one of the growing number of nations that permit citizens holding Indian passports to enter the nation visa-free. An official visa, known as an ICYMI, is granted by the government of the nation to anybody who wants to come for a set amount of time.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has stated that starting on December 1, Malaysia would provide 30-day visa-free entrance to Chinese and Indian people. This move will bring Malaysia's tourist offerings to three countries after previous announcements from Sri Lanka and Thailand.

According to Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, the waiver is an addition to the visa exemptions that Gulf states and other West Asian nations, such as Jordan and Turkiye, presently enjoy.

Indian Tourism in Malaysia:

Malaysia considers India its fifth-largest tourism market. From January to June 2023, Malaysia recorded approximately 9.16 million tourist arrivals, with around 2,83,885 of them being Indians. Mr Ibrahim noted that Singapore and Indonesia primarily drive tourism in the ASEAN region. He expects that Indian tourists will use this opportunity and see it as a convenient way to visit the country.

Why Are These Countries Allowing Visa-Free Travel for Indians? 

Considering that several countries are largely dependent on tourism for boosting national economies, offering Indian residents visa-free travel is one of such strategic steps undertaken after the 2020-2022 pandemic that led to travel prohibitions. An alternative explanation of the visa-free incentive for many Southeast Asian countries is that obtaining a Schengen and US visa presents difficulties. Such an approach may constitute a strategy to entice would-be travellers to look inward to discover the attractions and prospects in their respective nations.

Other Countries with Similar Facilities

Thailand now grants travel visas without charge to Indians visiting the country between November 10 and May 10, 2024, and they can remain here for thirty days. The tourists are, nonetheless, excluded from this exemption. Sri Lanka also gave visa-free entry to Indian tourists in October, which extended the grant to six other countries, including India. This is a current pilot project, which runs until March 2024, as a stimulator of the economy and simplification of visa regimes with neighbor countries.
Vietnam also plans to make a similar arrangement to welcome Indian Tourists to its country apart from Thailand and Sri Lanka. The process of applying for a visa has become easier for Indian tourists in countries like Russia and Australia.

Waiving visa fees represents a significant initiative in fostering people-to-people interactions and cross-cultural engagements. Besides providing a much-needed economic boost to host countries, such measures are poised to enhance cultural and political ties among nations in the foreseeable future.