Sarawak Expects VOA Facilities for Chinese in Miri

The State of Sarawak in East Malaysia (Borneo) expects the state’s application for Visa On Arrival (VOA) facilities for tourists from China entering via Miri Airport and the CIQ Complex in Sungai Tujuh, Miri, will receive feedback from the Home Ministry within the next one or two months. Deputy Chief Minister Amar Abang Johari Tun Abang Haji Openg said he had already submitted the letter to the Deputy Prime Minister who is also Home Minister,Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, last week.

He said the issuance of visas at the point of entry to Sarawak was important because it would be easier for tourists from China, especially those who were visiting Brunei, to continue their journey to Sarawak, as Miri was only two hours’ drive from Brunei capital city, Bandar Seri Begawan.

“We also understand that Brunei is intensifying its promotion in China, with the Royal Brunei Airlines flying directly to China,” he told reporters after launching the “101 Holidays in Sarawak” campaign, organised by the Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association Sarawak, here.

“For tourists from China who visit Brunei, they can proceed to Miri, Sarawak, via the Sungai Tujuh entry. To have VOA facilities, the immigration office in Sungai Tujuh must be gazetted as an visa-issuance office,” he added.

He said Sarawak was always trying to strengthen collaboration with Brunei in the field of tourism, especially after the launch of subregional economic co-operation initiative between the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines and East Asian Growth Area.

The number of Chinese travellers to Sarawak remains relatively small. According to statistics published by Satrawak Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, total arrivals of Chinese reached in 2015 only 33,000 on a grand total of 2.5 million foreign arrivals. However, the number of Chinese visitors is growing fast. For the first half of 2016, Chinese arrivals are up by 11.6% to a total of 17,641 compared to 15,800 for the same period of 2015.

(Source: Bernama)