PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia's Chinese New Year celebration is getting more popular among tourists from China, and more than 200,000 were here to celebrate the festival with the local Chinese recently.
Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian shared this today, saying the Chinese tourists visited Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Langkawi and Johor Baru during the Chinese New Year celebration.
"This is a new phenomenon. The Chinese New Year festive mood is more evident here (in Malaysia) than in some cities in China.
"I believe more Chinese tourists will come to Malaysia to enjoy the multicultural and multiracial aspects of Malaysia," he said after visiting the Immigration Department headquarters.
Also present was Immigration Department director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali.
Bai said Malaysia's efforts to provide maximum convenience to Chinese visitors via the electronic Visa (eVisa) initiative and the professionalism displayed by the Immigration Department would boost the number of tourist arrivals from China.
"Last year, there were 2.63 million tourists from China to Malaysia, a 20 per cent increase than the year before," he said, adding that the Chinese government estimated about 800 million outbound tourists from China in the next five years.
He also said Malaysia would remain on top of the list of destinations for Chinese tourists.
Based on statistics from the Immigration Department, it had received 242,539 applications for eVisa and 687,366 for the Visa Waiver Programme (eNTRI) in 2017 compared to 197,886 for eVisa and 174,776 for eNTRI in 2016.
Mustafar said the eVisa and eNTRI programmes were well received by the Chinese nationals as the facilities allowed them to apply or register at their own convenience anywhere and anytime.
It was reported more than 327,000 visa and entry passes were issued to Chinese Nationals coming into the country for January this year compared 193,000 issued in the same period last year.
Bai was also impressed by the advanced technology used by the Immigration Department in its eVisa Communication Centre (eVCOMM), describing it as an eye-opening experience.
"I don't think many countries have such advanced system, which has really distinguished Malaysia from other countries in the region, putting the country one step ahead of others."
The eVCOMM is one of the vital projects undertaken together with the Immigration Department's startegic partner, Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB) to design and develop comprehensive visa solutions towards preserving the sovereignty and security without compromise.
One of the centre's roles is to facilitate communication and coordination efforst between the Immigration Department headquarters, all immigration attaches across the world and all the stakeholders.
It also serves as the reference point on policies, standard operating procedures, circulars and guideline, among others.
The eVCOMM also provides statistics and analysis on the trend of visa applications and issuance for decision making processes and serves as the crisis management centre.