Malaysia’s April 1 reopening marks proper tourism restart

Malaysia will finally reopen to international tourists on April 1, with no quarantine on arrival for fully vaccinated travellers.

In making the announcement on March 8, prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob detailed that these travellers must still undergo an RT-PCR test two days prior to travel and an RTK antigen test within 24 hours upon arrival in Malaysia.

Fully vaccinated travellers can enter Malaysia without quarantine from April 1

Entry requirements for travellers who are not fully vaccinated will be announced today by the Health Ministry, while Standard Operating Procedures for land and sea entry points will be updated soon.

The move to reopen international borders were in line with the country’s Transitioning to Endemicity phase on April 1.

Malaysia’s travel players welcome the decision.

KL Tan, president, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA), said it was a crucial step for the tourism industry.

He said: “We can finally start rebuilding the tourism sector and contribute to the country’s economic recovery. With a firm date, the industry can now begin its marketing and promotion activities.”

He said it made sense to reopen the country’s borders while maintaining updated Standard Operating Procedures to ensure public health and safety.

Sri Ganesh Michiel, deputy president, Malaysia Budget & Business Hotel Association, said the reopening would not immediately revive the hospitality and tourism industry; it would take a long time to rebuild the confidence of travellers to vacation in Malaysia.

And as overseas travel will soon be more accessible to Malaysian residents, Yap Lip Seng, CEO of Malaysian Association of Hotels, said domestic travel promotions must be intensified while activities targeting overseas markets are reignited.

Yap hopes that airlines would be incentivised to mount more services into Malaysia in support of inbound traffic recovery.

FCM Travel, the business travel division Flight Centre Travel Group, welcomed Malaysia’s call of easing restrictions and quarantine in an effort to shift to an endemic Covid-19 strategy.

Bertrand Saillet, managing director, Asia, FCM Travel, said: “Only two months into 2022, FCM already saw inbound and domestic sales within Malaysia reach 30 per cent of its 2021 figures. With these changes, our industry has been given a much-needed boost that is expected to drive continued growth for the entire corporate travel industry, particularly Malaysia’s large and small businesses. This decision will enable clients to travel more easily and ultimately aid their business performance in the months ahead.

“We are optimistic that the restoration of vital connections between Malaysia and its neighbours will contribute to a much-needed impetus for travel to and from Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Brunei which accounted for over 60 per cent of its pre-pandemic arrivals.”

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