The EU is working toward the launch of the European Travel Information and Authorization Sistem, ETIAS, in 2020. This travel authorization will become a mandatory requirement for Malaysian citizens who wish to visit Europe's Schengen Area. At the moment citizens of Malaysia can travel to the Schengen Zone for short-term stays without the need of applying for a visa.
Malaysia is one out of 60 countries that are part of a visa waiver program and do not require a visa to enter Schengen member countries. However, starting the year 2020 it is expected that third-country nationals from visa-waiver countries will have to apply for the ETIAS visa for Europe.
The ETIAS authorization will only apply to citizens from countries that currently enjoy visa-free access to the EU. The EU has decided to implement this travel authorization as a security measure to improve border control and identify individuals that might present a threat to the region's security. The new system will be introduced to prevent terrorist attacks and uncontrolled migration flows to the EU.
Malaysian citizens who would like to visit Europe in the year 2020 should complete an online ETIAS application with their personal details, passport information, and travel plans. According to the EU's official statement about the ETIAS, the automated system will compare the data provided by the applicant with a series of databases including the Europol and Interpol. Citizens that have been flagged in other databases will be easily identified.
Europe is a top destination for people from all over the world. Data shows that "more than half (55.7%) of the total nights spent by non-residents in the EU were spent in Spain, Italy, France and the United Kingdom." According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, the EU is a major tourist destination that plays an important role in the development and economy of its member states. The tourism industry provides jobs and growth opportunities.
Travel to Malaysia
Malaysia also has an electronic system in place. However, not all foreign visitors are expected to apply for a valid travel authorization in order to visit the country. The Immigration Department of Malaysia established the Malaysian eVisa in January 2016 which is available for citizens of the following eligible countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Montenegro, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Serbia, and Sri Lanka.
All European Union citizens can travel to Malaysia for stays of up to 90 days without applying for a visa. This means that Europeans can travel to Malaysia visa-free. Malaysia is a popular tourist destination, in the year 2016, there were 26.8 million arrivals in the country. The top ten tourist generating markets to Malaysia in 2016 were Singapore, Indonesia, China, Thailand, Brunei, India, South Korea, the Philippines, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Malaysia ranks 9th in the world for tourist arrivals.
The Malaysian government made an effort to diversify the economy to make it less dependable on exports, therefore they made a push to increase tourism in the country. In 1999 Malaysia launched a worldwide marketing campaign called, "Malaysia, Truly Asia" which brought in 7.4 million visitors.
At the present time, tourism has become Malaysia's third largest source of foreign exchange income. Some of the most interesting and beautiful places to visit in Malaysia are:
- George Town, Kuala Lumpur's Little India, this central market boasts colorful architecture.
- Langkawi, the main island of a group of 99, it features stunning beaches, crystal-clear water, and coastal mangrove swamps.
- The Tropical Spice Garden, located in Penang, ideally secluded that provide a perfect opportunity for a peaceful hike.
- Mount Kinabalu and its surrounding area are one of the most biodiverse in the country.
- Batu Caves, it's one of Malaysia's national treasures and holiest Hindu sites.
Travelers are strongly advised to travel with the proper documentation and to always check a country's entry requirements before departure.