Malaysia’s National Recovery Council (NRC) recommended to the country’s government last week that it should reopen for tourism arrivals from March 1, 2022.
As we noted already back then (read more here), this was merely a recommendation, although many outlets had published this as close to a certainty. The government has communicated that they indeed won’t reopen on March 1st and need further studies.
Malaysia’s holiday island of Langkawi reopened for international arrivals last year, and it has received less than 5,000 tourists from outside of the country by February 9. Not a roaring success.
The country would prefer Travel Bubble arrangements (haven’t those all but failed?) and would need to conduct careful studies (for what is unclear).
Excerpt from the Malaysian Reserve:
Various factors need to be carefully studied before Malaysia’s tourism sector and international borders can be allowed to fully reopen without the implementation of travel bubbles.
Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri (picture) said thorough study and preparations, including discussions with the tourism ministries in other countries, were among her ministry’s ongoing efforts.
“However, the matter needs to be further studied as some countries have yet to allow their people to travel and this must be taken into consideration for the tourism sector to fully reopen,” she told reporters after opening the ‘Statesman’s Talk: Thoughts and Leadership of Tun Hussein Onn’ programme at Tun Hussein Onn Memorial here today.
She said even though the government would not reopen the borders on March 1 as recommended by the National Recovery Council (NRC), the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) is optimistic that the success of the Langkawi Domestic Travel Bubble pilot project could be set as the benchmark for the sector.
For the Langkawi International Travel Bubble project, the number of foreign tourist arrivals recorded as of February 9 was 4,274 without any case of Covid-19 transmission.
I am not sure what are these studies that Malaysia’s government needs to conduct to reopen the border and which countries would be willing to Travel Bubble arrangements outside of Singapore?
Tourism is not much of a significance to Malaysia outside of Langkawi, and it is evident from the slow pace of considering letting visitors in.