( dpa ) - Visas for health tourists to Malaysia has been extended from 30 days to 6 months with immediate effect, the government announced Tuesday.
Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak made the announcement today after chairing a cabinet committee meeting on tourism in the administrative capital of Putrajaya.
He said the cabinet committee agreed with the Home Ministry's recommendation that health tourists be allowed longer stays and provided with multiple entries on their visas.
"This is to meet our aim to promote health tourism in the country," Najib was quoted as saying by the official Bernama news agency.
He also reminded tourists interested in applying for the health visa to have supporting documents like letters of verification from hospitals treating them.
At the same meeting, the committee had also decided to impose a restriction on the employment of workers at all major airports in the country to Malaysian citizens only.
"We will issue rulings to MAB (Malaysia Airports Berhad) to ensure that the workers are Malaysian citizens," he said.
Najib added that the committee intended for Malaysia to become a major shopping destination in the Asian region by year 2010 where they aim at achieving 50 per cent of foreign tourists' total expenditure on shopping.
Currently, foreign tourist spending in Malaysia is seen to be relatively low, constituting only 25 per cent of each tourist's total expenditure in comparison to other countries where the figure has reached 50 per cent.
Tourism is Malaysia's second highest foreign exchange earner, after manufacturing.