The Malaysian government will look into resuming interstate travel across the country to help boost its domestic tourism sector.
Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Nancy Shukri said this in Parliament yesterday while answering a supplementary question from Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman on the government’s plan to introduce more travel bubbles.
“For the information of everyone seated in this House, hotels or destinations, both on islands and mainland, are allowed to open and operate their facilities, but only for visitors living within the same state,” said Nancy.
“Despite that, we are discussing over the next two or three days to permit interstate travel. When this is allowed, residents living outside can come in,” she added.
Nancy added that this would allow people to visit popular destinations such as Genting Highlands, Cameron Highlands and Fraser’s Hill.
“Tourism is all about mobility. When people are allowed to move, our economy can grow,” said Nancy, adding that opening up tourism again would help those in the sector whose livelihoods have been impacted by COVID-19.
Last Thursday, Langkawi in Kedah re-opened to local tourists in the country’s first domestic travel bubble. This came months after an interstate travel ban was imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 infections.
Tourism operators including airlines and hotels have reported strong reception from visitors on the first day of the bubble. Nancy said the government has plans to open Langkawi to international tourists.
In response to a question by Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai on the government’s plans to allow international tourists to visit the country, the minister said that Langkawi’s geographical location isolated from the mainland, and the fact that it already has an international airport, make it an ideal choice for a pilot project.