Kuala Lumpur, March 11: Malaysia will fully reopen its borders to all international travellers without the need to quarantine come April 1.
The announcement was made by Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Tuesday.
The Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) applauds the government’s decision to fully reopen Malaysia’s borders as it is a positive indicator towards the recovery of the nation’s healthcare travel industry and a step in the right direction in revitalising the nation’s economy.
MHTC also said that it stood by a guided and a well-detailed plan announced by the Minister of Health Malaysia Khairy Jamaluddin during a media conference held on Wednesday in regards to the borders reopening.
“This timely announcement allows the council to boost its efforts for the recovery phase of the industry, in its mission to provide the best Malaysia healthcare travel experience by 2025,” MHTC CEO Mohd Daud Mohd Arif said.
“We look forward to welcoming international travellers back to Malaysia, a safe and trusted destination, strengthened by our nation’s commitment to embracing endemicity.”
Airbnb had also echoed the same sentiment as MHTC and welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement to reopen the country’s international borders and transition into the endemic phase.
“This is a long-awaited and critical step forward towards enabling broader tourism and economic recovery in Malaysia,” Airbnb Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong and Taiwan General Manager Amanpreet Bajaj said.
“The return of international travel will drive a significant boost for the tourism sector, adding to the enthusiasm we’ve seen by Malaysians for domestic travel over the past two years.
“Airbnb stands ready with our passionate local host community to welcome the world back to Malaysia as they visit new destinations and re-explore familiar favourites with their loved ones,” Bajaj said.
Sabah State Tourism, Culture, and Environment Assistant Minister cum Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai continued to encourage tour operators to promote community-based tourism (CoBT) to domestic tourists while the international border remained closed.
He said Malaysians should take advantage of exploring the state’s rural attractions, some of which have won international awards and are gaining traction with foreign travellers.
“Of course, with the border opening next month, Sabah looks forward to welcoming back international visitors.
“Sabah Tourism has been advertising countryside destinations aggressively, and we anticipate that tourists will visit CoBT areas.
“This will rejuvenate the economy of rural communities,” he said.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Chinese Tourism Association (MCTA) president Paul Paw who recently visited the state said the highland and countryside attractions are the most compelling selling points for presenting Sabah to tourists.
While Kundasang remains a major attraction for visitors, he said rural places such as those in the Tuaran and Kota Belud districts, which were near to the state capital and were gaining popularity as well.
“We were brought to see quite a lot of new scenery, and this time our objective is to look into CoBT to discover what the rural community has to offer before promoting it to clients.
“To understand Sabah well, we have to mix with the ‘kampung’ people, and they are polite and friendly. Such is a great community culture to promote, and I’m sure visitors would like to experience it,” he said.
He likened Sabah CoBT to Taiwan, where the community is also welcoming and eager to show visitors around their village.
Paw had led MCTA delegates to the state for the Sabah Tourism B2B programme and familiarisation trip which began last Sunday.
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