Penang wants visa on arrival for tourists from China, India

Despite direct flights from China to Penang, the lack of VOA has made some Chinese tourists shy away from the state. (Bernama pic)

GEORGE TOWN: A Penang executive council member said the federal government should introduce visa-on-arrival (VOA) facilities for tourists from China and India landing at the Penang International Airport in a move to tap into the lucrative tourist market.

State executive councillor Yeoh Soon Hin (DAP-Paya Terubong) said since next year was Experience Penang Year 2020, the VOA would help boost tourist numbers and improve the state’s economy as a whole.

He said while there were direct flights from China to Penang, the lack of VOA has showed some Chinese tourists shying away from the state.

“While there are no direct flights from India, the Penang government wants to get direct flights from the continent and we are actively promoting Penang there.

“Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia allow VOA for visitors from China. I urge the government and relevant ministries to help us so we can compete with our neighbours,” he said in his winding-up speech at the state assembly here today.

On another matter, Yeoh said Penang was becoming a favourite for couples looking for help to get pregnant as the state had recorded the highest success rate for in-vitro fertilisation, or IVF, at 79.5%.

He said the medical tourism sector in Penang has grown from strength to strength, remaining the top spot for foreigners seeking medical treatment in Malaysia, capturing 62% of the market nationally.

He said the International Living magazine has also ranked Penang number one in the “world’s best healthcare” category.