PETALING JAYA: Malaysia must seriously consider giving tourists from China visa exemption if it wants more Chinese to holiday here, said the Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (MATTA).
Granting them visa-free entrance was common sense to stay competitive, as neighbouring countries were doing this, it said.
This comes after Malaysia recorded a 27 per cent drop in Chinese tourists in the first three months of 2015.
The tourists are estimated to have contributed up to RM21.6bil (S$7.7 billion) to the shopping industry last year.
MATTA's inbound division vice-president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said the association was hoping to recapture 30 per cent of the "lost" Chinese tourists and called on the Government to seriously consider the proposal for the visa-free entry proposal.
Malaysian Chinese Tourism Association (MCTA) president Paul Paw said the visa requirement was a "troublesome" thing for tourists looking to visit Malaysia.
"A lot of people in China travel overseas but it's troublesome for them to get a visa to Malaysia so they go to other countries," he said, adding that local airlines should increase their flights from China to Kuala Lumpur.
Paw also suggested more money be put into advertising Malaysian tourism in China, Japan, the Middle East, Russia, India and Europe to promote the country as a tourist destination.