Japan now a favourite destination with new visa ruling

KUALA LUMPUR - Financial manager Danny Wong did not hesitate to buy tickets for travel to Japan at the WITM-MATTA fair, especially now that travel visa is no longer needed for Malaysian visitors to the country.

The 37-year-old said there were many options for tourist packages heading to Japan, including one as low as RM595 (S$229), at the fair.

"I think it is the right time for us to travel and to experience the Japanese culture. Besides, we no longer have to apply for a tourist visa to Japan," he said at the fair yesterday.

It was reported in July that Malaysian nationals who hold ordinary biometric passports with an embedded microchip will no longer need to obtain a visa for a short-term stay in Japan.

Japan Travel Bureau outbound division senior manager Shen Nordin said Japan had become a top destination for Malaysian travellers especially during the autumn period, which starts in September and ends in November.

"During the first day, we saw a spike of about five times of our average sales while on the second day, we received about 12 times our usual sales of Japan tour packages," he said.

Asked if the damaged Fukushima nuclear power facility would have an impact on the tourism industry, he said Malaysian travellers were well-informed and sale of tickets to Japan continued to soar.

"Malaysian travellers mostly will travel to Tokyo and Osaka and it is quite a distance from Fukushima. I think the situation is still under control," he said.

Egyptian Tourism Office in India director Dr Adel El Masry said following the political uncertainty in Egypt, many had the misperception that it was not safe for travellers to head to the country.

"We assure that all disturbances will end and Egypt will be back on track. We are currently focusing on destinations such as Cairo, Luxor and Sharm El Sheikh to the Malaysian visitors," he said.