Malaysia Revises Tourist-Visa Rules to Boost Tourism

Faced with stiff tourism competition from Singapore and Thailand, Malaysia has begun issuing tourist visas on arrival to nationals of 23 countries—including China, India and Pakistan—whose citizens previously had to travel on visas issued in their home countries, the Wall Street Journal reports. Malaysia's decision to relax visa procedures, which took effect this month, is aimed at attracting more tourists, especially during Visit Malaysia Year 2007, when the country will celebrate 50 years of independence. In particular, Malaysia hopes to lure larger numbers of increasingly wealthy Chinese and Indians visitors. The tourism industry is Malaysia's second-largest foreign-exchange earner. Tourism receipts amounted to 31.95 billion ringgit ($8.8 billion) in 2005, when there were 16.43 million tourist arrivals.

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