Visa-free for Indians, but not if you’re from India

The travel trade in Malaysia has welcomed the latest initiative to allow Indian nationals living outside India to travel to the country without the need for a visa.

“It is certainly a move in the right direction, which is long overdue but never too late,” said MATTA president Datuk Hamzah Rahmat. However he questioned why the concession was being limited to Indian nationals living overseas only.

“They’re holding the same passports as Indians living in India. So how do we differentiate between the two categories?”

Hamzah said the visa-free facility for Chinese nationals visiting Malaysia is a success with increased arrivals, and the same should be extended to all Indian nationals.

“We should have the same heart and mind with India as we have with China. We must also be aware that 60% of the current Indian population is below the age of 30 – a very great potential for the travel market,” he added.

India is among Malaysia’s top 10 countries in terms of total tourist arrivals. In 2015 there were 722,141 arrivals from India, and the number for last year was estimated at about one million.

The visa-free facility was announced in Doha by Malaysia’s deputy prime minister, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, during his official visit to Qatar.

The DPM said the removal of the visa requirement would attract some 500,000 Indian nationals currently in Qatar as businessmen, professionals and technical experts.

source –


Thailand invites M’sia for talks on the Bangkok-KL High Speed Rail link.

BANGKOK: The State Railway of Thailand has sent a letter to the Malaysian railway authority, seeking to start discussions on the feasibility of a High-Speed Rail (HSR) connecting Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Its governor, Wuttichart Kanlayanamit, said the letter was sent last week. “By the end of this week, it will be clear where and when the talks will be held. It could be either in Malaysia or Thailand,” he told Bernama here recently. He is upbeat on the potential of an HSR linking the two capitals. Wuttichart was asked to comment on Thai Transport Minister Arkom Termpittayapaisith’s announcement last week that talks between Malaysia and Thailand on the feasibility of the 1,400km HSR link were in the offing. The HSR link would help shorten travel time between the two capitals to six hours, he said, adding that the talks would start at the official level before proceeding to the ministerial level. The HSR link was broached during the Malaysia-Thailand annual consultation meeting here in Sept, with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his Thai counterpart, Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, agreeing to conduct a feasibility study on the proposal. Najib said the HSR link would complement the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR. — Bernama

Thai Visa fee measure to woo tourists

Bangkok : The cabinet on Tuesday resolved to waive the visa fee and halve the visa-on-arrival fee for tourists from 19 countries including China to attract more visitors during this high season.

From Dec 1 to Feb 28, the 1,000-baht fee for visas sought at Thai embassies and consulates would be lifted, and the 2,000-baht fee for visas on arrival would be cut to 1,000 baht, said Apisit Chaiyanuwat, vice minister at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Eligible for the privilege are visitors from Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, the Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

Tourism authorities said the three-month tourism promotion measure was aimed at boosting the number of visitors by 350,000 and generating income of 28 billion baht.


source: bangkokpost Launched


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Police seize 2,155 buses, B4.7bn in zero-dollar Chinese tour network raid.

BANGKOK: Authorities today (Sept 9) impounded 2,155 buses and froze bank accounts containing B4.7 billion held by the country’s biggest “zero-dollar tour” network, including OA Transport Co and 381 firms.

Tourist police and officials from the Anti-Money Laundering Office and the Revenue and Business Development departments swooped on the premises of OA Transport Co in Lat Krabang district of Bangkok after its executives had been charged with carrying on business illegally and damaging Thai tourism.

The action followed Tourist Police searches of OA Transport and four affiliated companies in the Lat Krabang and Jorakhae Noi areas of Bangkok last month.

Two OA executives, Nisa Rojrungrangsi and Wasurat Rojrungrangsi, turned themselves in at the Phaya Thai Police Station for questioning late last month.

Tourist Police moved the buses to the nearby Airport Rail Link station of the State Railway of Thailand. Land Transport Department officials will check if any of them were used illegally. An initial examination found that some of the buses were unregistered, police said.

OA Transport operated the bus that came crashing down Kata Hill in Phuket in March last year, killing three Chinese tourists and injuring 15 more.

The bus crashed through a guardrail while descending the hill to Chalong and came to rest only after slamming into trees halfway down the steep slope, preventing the vehicle from tumbling into a house just metres below. (See story here.)

Gen Surachet said the Land Transport Department was deploying buses to serve tourists who were clients of OA Transport and the 381 related companies as their operations must stop.

The raid was part of attempts to tackle “zero-dollar” tour operations to protect Thai tourism, Gen Surachet said.

Raided last month were OA Transport Co, a vehicle-rental firm, Bangkok Handicraft Centre Co, which sells leather goods; Royal Gems International Co, a jewellery firm; Royal Thai Herb Co, which sells herbal products; and Royal Paradise Co, which runs restaurants.

The five companies operate stores in tourist destinations nationwide, including Phuket.

Zero-dollar tours are so named because they offer very cheap package deals in which tourists, mostly Chinese, are pressured to buy overpriced goods and services on which the operators make big profits.

Authorities have long alleged that the money Chinese tourists spend in Thailand on zero-dollar tours mostly goes to Chinese-operated tour firms owned by Thai nominees.

source – thephuketnews

Thailand Visa on arrival increased to THB 2000 wef 27 sep 2016

maxresdefaultStarting from 27 September 2016, Thailand, by the order of Ministry of Interior No. 30 B.E. 2559 (2016) dated 1 July B.E. 2559 (2016), will increase its VoA fee from 1,000 to 2,000 THB. Tourists from Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan are entitled to apply for VoA at 42 designated immigration checkpoints, which will allow tourists to stay in the country up to 15 days.

42 designated immigration checkpoints to apply for the VoA are as follows:

1. Suvarnabhumi Airport, Samut Prakarn
2. Don Muang International Airport, Bangkok
3. Chiangmai International Airport, Chiangmai
4. Phuket International Airport, Phuket
5. Hatyai International Airport, Songkhla
6. U Tapao Airport, Rayong
7. Mae Sai Immigration Checkpoint, Chiangrai
8. Chiang Saen Immigration Checkpoint,Chiangrai
9. Chiang Khong Immigration Checkpoint,Chiangrai
10. Betong Immigration Checkpoint, Yala
11. Sadao Immigration Checkpoint, Songkhla
12. Samui Airport, Surat Thani
13. Sukhothai International Airport,Tak Immigration Checkpoint
14. Bangkok Harbour Immigration Checkpoint,Bangkok
15. Sri Racha Immigration Checkpoint, Chonburi
16. Mabtaput Immigration Checkpoint, Rayong
17. Nong Khai Immigration Checkpoint, Nong Khai
18. Samui Immigration Checkpoint, Surat Thani
19. Phuket Immigration Checkpoint, Phuket
20. Satun Immigration Checkpoint, Satun
21. Krabi Immigration Checkpoint, Krabi
22. Songkhla Harbour Immigraion Checkpoint,Songkhla

23. Chiangrai Airport Immigration Checkpoint,Chiangrai
24. Surat Thani Airport Immigration Checkpoint,Surat Thani
25. Sattahip Harbour Immigration Checkpoint,Chonburi
26. Khlong Yai Immigration Checkpoint, Trat
27. Pong Nam Ron Immigration Checkpoint,Chanthaburi
28. Aranyaprathet Immigration Checkpoint, Sakaeo
29. Mukdahan Immigration Checkpoint, Mukdahan
30. Tak Immigration Checkpoint, Tak
31. Padang Besar Immigration Checkpoint, Songkhla
32. Su-ngai Kolok Immigration Checkpoint,Narathiwat
33. Nong Khai Immigration Checkpoint, Nong Khai
34. Bueng Kan Immigration Checkpoint, Bueng Kan
35. Phibun Mangsahan Immigration Checkpoint,Ubon Ratchathani
36. Tha Li Immigration Checkpoint, Loei
37. Nakhon Phanom Immigration Checkpoint,Nakhon Phanom
38. Nan Immigration Checkpoint, Nan
39. Ban Prakob Immigration Checkpoint, Songkhla
40. Khuan Don Immigration Checkpoint, Satun
41. Tak Bai Immigration Checkpoint, Narathiwat
42. Bukit Tal Immigration Checkpoint, Narathiwat

Singapore’s Scoot flies into Indian market


An interesting travel development in recent weeks was the move by low-cost, medium-haul airline, Scoot, to enter the Indian market.

The Singapore Airlines subsidiary now flies directly between Singapore and both Chennai in South India and Amritsar in the northern state of Punjab

Flights to the popular tourist destination of Jaipur will be launched later this year.

Scoot’s flights to India have further boosted the presence of the Singapore Airlines group in one of the world’s fastest-growing markets..

International Air Transport Association figures show that India is projected to be the world’s third largest air passenger market by 2031.

Annual passenger traffic there is expected to reach a total of 367 million by 2034 – an additional 266 million annual passengers over today.

Scoot’s move into India means that it now flies out of Singapore to 17 destinations in seven countries, including Australia and China.

The airline’s new service to Amritsar operates three times a week and will increase frequency with an additional Monday service from July.

Scoot takes over the Singapore-Chennai daily service from Tigerair.

When the move into India was announced, the Chief Commercial Officer for Scoot and Tigerair, Mr Leslie Thng, said the Singapore-Jaipur service would operate four times a week from October.

“Guests from India can now fly to amazing destinations in our Asia-Pacific network
through the Singapore hub, as well as onward with Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Tigerair in the SIA Group portfolio”.

Scoot’s fleet of 787 Dreamliners operates between Singapore and Sydney; Gold Coast; Bangkok; Taipei; Tokyo; Tianjin; Shenyang; Nanjing; Qingdao; Seoul; Hong Kong; Perth; Osaka; Kaohsiung; Hangzhou; Melbourne; Guangzhou; Jeddah; Chennai; Amritsar – and soon to Jaipur and Sapporo.