MACEOS calls for full border reopening in March

Malaysia's Cabinet has yet to discuss the National Recovery Council's (NRC) proposal to reopen the country's borders by March 1

The Malaysian Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (MACEOS) has urged the Malaysian government to consider the National Recovery Council’s (NRC) recommendation on February 8 to reopen Malaysia’s borders as early as March 1 without the need for mandatory quarantine.

However, the final reopening decision remains with Malaysia’s cabinet. As of February 11, prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob indicated that the Cabinet had yet to discuss NRC’s recommendation. The Ministry of Health of Malaysia has yet to provide feedback on the recommendation as well.

Malaysia’s Cabinet has yet to discuss NRC’s proposal to reopen the country’s borders by March 1; Kuala Lumpur pictured

MACEOS president, Francis Teo, stressed that the reopening of the borders will allow the restart of in-person business events with international participation. Instead of quarantines, Teo sought stronger precautionary measures if needed, to ensure the hassle-free entry and stay of business events travellers.

He said Malaysia’s business events cannot sustain on local participation, which contributes just 30 to 40 per cent of attendance – a level below break-even point.

Yap Sook Ling, managing director, Asian Overland Services Tours & Travel, opined that for foreign tourists to enter the country, entry requirements should not be too restrictive as it would turn travellers away, especially if they are short-stay event attendees.

Earlier in June 2020, MACEOS submitted a comprehensive health and safety framework with best practices from around the world as guidelines for organising business events and meetings in the new norm. Measures included the sanitisation of venues, health checks of delegates, crowd control, procedures for contact tracing, and social distancing measures.

As such, he was confident that Malaysia and the business events community were more than ready to receive international visitors.

Universal Holidays Travel and Tourism founder and CEO, Zahira Tahir, shared that she has received interest from agents based in India and Pakistan to bring incentive groups to Malaysia in 1H2022, but pointed out that this would be highly dependent on the opening of borders as well as the entry requirements.

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