Malaysia to reopen to international tourists soon

With eased restrictions allowing more tourist attractions to reopen in our country, Malaysians are now gearing to travel domestically again. Soon, international visitors will get to return to these attractions too, as Malaysia plans to reopen to international tourists by 1st January 2022.

The proposal takes into account our country’s vaccination rate, which is considered one of the highest in the world. Malaysia will also consider the vaccination rates and Covid-19 management in countries that it will decide to reopen its borders to.

Planned reopening for 1st January 2022

The reopening of Malaysia’s borders to international tourists was proposed by the National Recovery Council (NRC) and announced by its chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin during an NRC meeting held on Thursday, 11th November.

According to a report by Bernama, Malaysia is targeting to reopen its borders by 1st January 2022 “at the latest” to revive local economy, with the tourism sector highlighted as a main concern.

At the same meeting, Malaysia is said to have seen satisfactory development on the Covid-19 management front, with Muhyiddin citing declining numbers of daily positive cases, deaths, and hospital admissions, as reported by The Star.

The national vaccination rates – with 95% of the adults and nearly 67.7% of adolescents vaccinated – helped spur plans to reopen.

Malaysia international tourism - Covid-19 cases Malaysia’s Covid-19 updates as of 11th November
Image credit: @KKMPutrajaya

Muhyiddin was also reported saying in the meeting that Malaysia’s “tourism sector will suffer losses of almost RM90 million if the borders were to remain closed”.

He used US, UK, Germany and Switzerland as examples, as these countries have high vaccination rates and have begun to welcome back international travellers, including those from Malaysia, while still fighting the pandemic. Malaysia has similarly high vaccination rate when put side-by-side with these countries, and therefore plans to take a similar route of allowing international tourists back into our country too.

Nonetheless, to avoid dampening the efforts of our frontliners and more against the pandemic, Malaysia will identify low-risk countries it will reopen its borders to and continue to implement strict standard operating procedures (SOPs).

This will be determined by the Special Committee on Pandemic Management chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob. Considerations taken into account will be the Covid-19 management and vaccination rates in the other countries.

VTL for Malaysia and Indonesia

Following news of Malaysia and Singapore launching a Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL), it was also announced at the NRC meeting that Malaysia has been in conversation with Indonesia to launch a “travel corridor” or VTL in phases between the two nations.

Once approved by PM Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Indonesia’s President, the route will allow for travel between KL-Jakarta and KL-Bali, and vice versa, as reported by New Straits Times.

The decision will also take into account the Covid-19 situation in both countries. A joint statement will be released to announce any developments regarding the decision.

Malaysia plans to welcome international tourists by 1st Jan

We’re almost two years in to the Covid-19 pandemic. But things are starting to feel a little more like our pre-pandemic days, with travel restrictions now eased for local tourism, and soon for international visitors wishing to travel to Malaysia again.

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Cover image adapted from: Malaysia Airports

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