MP lauds VOA facility in Miri

Dr Micheal Teo

MIRI: The setting up of visa on arrival (VOA) facility at the Miri International Airport and Sungai Tujuh entry points has been hailed by Miri MP Dr Micheal Teo.

This is a step in the right direction in boosting tourism here as it more tourist-friendly and will encourage them to stay longer

“This means it is good for economy as they will spend more here, “ he said of the move to attract more visitors, particularly Chinese tourists and those from Brunei .

Bernama reported that Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) in a statement yesterday said it has working with the Tourism Productivity Nexus (TPN) to collaborate with Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry in engaging various stakeholders to improve the departure and processing system at Sarawak and Brunei border for tourists coming from Brunei.

Besides the VOA, several requirements have been relaxed with effect from July 15, including an increase in stay from seven to 15 days; proof of sufficient funds from US$500 in the form of travellers cheques, credit card, debit card or eMoney as accepted by Bank Negara; and a fee reduction to RM200 from RM330.

Teo said tourists from China are the biggest group in many countries and those visiting Singapore outstripped even KL and Johor Bahru due to the welcoming atmosphere and long visa duration.

He said Malaysia was unable to cope with the influx of big groups of tourists as shown in one incident when 800 tourists from China going to Johor Baru had to turn back after a six hour wait for visa approval.

Teo also called on the state government and relevant agencies take measures to boost tourists arrival in Miri, particularly Chinese tourists .

He said Miri is lagging behind Kota Kinabalu in tourists arrival from China as the Sabah tourism industry is more developed .

“Our state Government’s initiatives should be to beef up the industry, and projects should be geared towards increasing tourists coming by air or land,” he said.

He proposed cleaning up beaches and organising international events such as paragliding and other sports championship to draw in more tourists over and above association anniversary celebrations.

According to TPN chairperson Uzaidi Udanis, the VOA facility would boost the arrival of tourists from Brunei, as well as encourage impromptu visits by 40,000 Chinese expatriates currently based in the country.

Miri could potentially earn up to US$4 million (RM16.48 million) annually from these expatriates, with the assumption 10 per cent of them visit Miri weekly and spend US$200 (RM824) per visit.

This initiative would contribute to the government’s Visit Malaysia Year 2020 target of achieving 30 million tourist arrivals and RM30 billion in tourist revenue.

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