Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia will reopen the tourist haven of Langkawi islands to overseas visitors beginning November 15, under a pilot international tourism bubble project that will run for three months.
The government has approved protocols for international tourists to enter the islands without having to quarantine, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a statement on Friday. Visitors must be “high-yield” , fully vaccinated, and stay for at least three days, among other requirements.
Malaysia will evaluate the pilot project before emulating it in other tourist destinations throughout the country, Ismail added.
The Southeast Asian nation is following in the footsteps of neighboring countries such as Thailand and Singapore in easing quarantine rules for inoculated visitors, as the region seeks to recover from the global pandemic. Tight movement restrictions for most of the year tipped Malaysia’s gross domestic product into a quarterly contraction during April-June.
Speedy vaccine rollout
Malaysia’s speedy vaccine rollout in recent months has helped the country turn a corner. The states of Terengganu and Johor will transition to the final phase of the national recovery plan from Monday, joining Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, Ismail said.
The government also approved rules for allowing migrant workers to re-enter Malaysia on a case-by-case basis, he said.
Last week, Malaysia ended a months-long ban on interstate travel after the nation reached its target of vaccinating 90% of the adult population. The government also allowed citizens to travel overseas without prior approval.
The government expects to fully reopen its domestic economy by the end of 2021, and return to pre-pandemic growth next year, Finance Minister Zafrul Abdul Aziz said last week.