Top News Travel bubble with Indonesia a ray of hope for M’sia inbound players By TTG Asia / Posted on 8 February, 2021 14:00 Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed in principle to implement the reciprocal green lane scheme to facilitate bilateral travel, pending approval by health authorities in both countries. Foreign Affairs Ministry secretary-general, Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob, said that follow-ups were required to fine-tune the standard operating procedures (SOPs). Malaysia agrees on green lane reciprocal travel bubble with Indonesia He was quoted by The Star as saying: “A follow-up is necessary as far as Malaysia is concerned on tightening the existing SOPs. The scheme will be implemented once Malaysian and Indonesian health authorities deem it appropriate.” Tourism, arts and culture minister, Nancy Shukri, said in a press statement that the travel bubble initiative is part of the ministry’s recovery plans formulated since last July to revitalise the country’s tourism and culture sector. She added that the ministry had also previously held discussions with the Health Ministry, Home Affairs Ministry and the Foreign Affairs Ministry to explore opportunities in creating travel bubbles with neighbouring countries such as Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. “Its implementation, however, is subject to bilateral discussions and considerations based on the aspects of health, immigration, data tracking, and ongoing monitoring by relevant agencies in both countries,” she said. Nancy also highlighted that Malaysia had proposed for transparency and standardisation of cross-border SOPs enforced by safe countries to facilitate easier travel. While welcoming the travel bubble plan, Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association president, Uzaidi Udanis, opined that careful and detailed study of the mechanisms is crucial to ensure strict adherence to SOPs in order to guard against imported cases. He said: “The SOPs must be clearly stated in writing to ensure tourism industry players are clear about the procedures.” He added that the reopening of the border with Indonesia presented inbound players from Malaysia with an opportunity to capture the high-end travellers from Indonesia, a segment that has remained under-tapped.