Malaysia continues to be hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic but tourism chiefs are increasingly concerned over the future of many businesses and are calling for action to prepare for the future.
Picture – Langkawi sunset, Malaysia, credit Nik Radzi on Unsplash
Other countries with a high dependence on tourism have been proactive in drawing up plans for the return of foreign tourists once it is deemed safe to do so. So far it seems nothing has been done in Malaysia.
“We need to initiate a sandbox where we can test specific destinations, such as Qatar-Malaysia, for example, before opening up to other destinations.”
“At the same time, we should also look at allowing vaccinated tourists to visit Malaysia without having to go through a quarantine period from October onwards, with compulsory bookings through travel agents.”Uzaidi Udanis, President Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association (MITA)
The Thailand Sandbox is due to start in Phuket from 1st July with Bangkok and a further 10 areas joining the scheme from October. More details on Phuket quarantine-free travel.
A number of other countries have either already started opening back up or have plans firmly established for the return of foreign tourists, generally those who are fully vaccinated or come from low-risk countries.
Domestic travel within the country has ground to a halt following a series of local restrictions. Then from 17th May a new Malaysia lockdown ended short-term tourism hopes.
There have also been reports of many tourists who were stranded in Malaysia at the start of the pandemic having to leave after further visa extensions were denied. Until recently extensions were granted to these tourists who were an important source of income for many tourist businesses.
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