In bubble plan, the Malaysian island of Langkawi opens to foreign travelers

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LANGKAWI (THE STAR / ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – The onset of Malaysia’s first international tourism bubble on Monday (November 15) is being watched closely as the country hopes to reopen its borders next year in a bid to revive a hard-hitting industry affected by the covid19 pandemic.

While authorities have pledged to closely monitor the entry of foreign tourists to the resort island of Langkawi, tourism players on the island, the first vacation spot to reopen to domestic tourists on September 16, are now waiting. looking forward to a further boost.

The entry of foreign tourists, the first since the borders closed almost two years ago, comes amid warnings that Covid-19 cases could rise again with the recent increase in infectivity rate despite the country’s high vaccination rate.

Kedah State Executive Councilor Mohd Firdaus Ahmad said the state has completed preparations for the travel bubble with local authorities and agencies, such as the Langkawi Development Authority (Lada), as well as stakeholders tourism.

“All foreign vacationers are to be screened for Covid-19 upon arrival on the island, and the results would be known within 10 minutes.

“They are to take the test at a facility near Langkawi International Airport. These travelers will move in a travel bubble guided by their agents,” he said, adding that all restaurants and tourist attractions were also ready to receive tourist arrivals.

On October 22, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that foreign tourists will once again be able to enjoy the sun, sea and sand in Langkawi from Monday.

Former Prime Minister and Chairman of the National Recovery Council Muhyiddin Yassin had proposed that the country’s borders be reopened to foreign visitors on January 1 next year, with the aim of accelerating the country’s economic recovery, all the more that the tourism sector in 2019 attracted around 26 million tourists and over RM86 billion (S $ 28 billion) in revenue.

International travelers, said Mohd Firdaus, would further boost Langkawi’s tourism sector due to their higher purchasing power.

“In the last five years (before the pandemic) international travelers spent a significant amount of money in Langkawi and it was good for the local economy.

“On average, each of them spent between RM 1,000 and 2,000 per person per day on accommodation and activities such as island hopping trips and hiring tour guides,” Mr. Portfolio added. development and cooperatives.

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