KUALA LUMPUR, 8 March 2022: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents says the reopening of borders starting 1 April 2022 is a crucial step for the tourism industry and in line with what MATTA has been pushing for.
“We can finally start rebuilding the tourism sector and contributing to the Malaysia’s economic recovery,” said MATTA President Datuk Tan Kok Liang.
Malaysia has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, with close to 80% of the total population fully vaccinated and of these 99% are fully vaccinated adults. More than half of the population have already received their third dose.
“It makes sense to open our borders while maintaining updated SOPs to ensure public health safety.”
“Local tourism players have already made preparations to welcome international tourists and have always maintained a clean and safe environment for everyone by adopting safety procedures.”
“With a firm date, the industry can now begin its marketing and promotions activities and recalling tourism workers in stages back to work. The multiplier effect of tourist spending will invariably boost local economies and many sub sectors of the tourism industry.”
“The closure of international border for the leisure and business segment has hit the whole industry hard over the last 24 months. The Langkawi travel bubble and VTL arrangements, although well-meaning, has helped little to support the industry as a whole.”
International border closures and restrictions have resulted in Malaysia losing about RM90 billion in tourism receipts in 2020 with the figure increasing in 2021 to RM165 billion.
The opening of borders is consistent with practices in many countries and lately countries like Australia and Singapore have followed suit. Neighbouring countries such as Thailand under the “Test and Go” program, allowed tourists to travel all over Thailand after they received a negative test result on their first COVID-19 test without quarantine.
The Philippines suspended its color-coded country classification program in favor of opening it to vaccinated travelers who test negative via a PCR test with no quarantine.
Denmark, the UK, Sweden, Dubai, Arab Saudi and major cities across America have gone a step further and removed all forms of covid restriction.
“With the current global practices of countries transiting away from VTLs in favour of welcoming vaccinated travellers from all countries, the PM’s announcement brings relief for the tourism industry. We look forward to timely updated SOPs and hopefully it will be consistent with global practices making travel experience post Covid 19 less ‘stressful’,” added Tan.
“Meanwhile the government should beef-up its healthcare facilities to cater for foreign tourists. MATTA records its appreciation and thanks to the government for listening to the industry needs,” concluded Tan
DATUK TAN KOK LIANG PGDK, M.A Tourism, CA (M), FCTIM, CHA