Malaysia’s tourism minister has announced guidelines for domestic travellers visiting Langkawi under the new tourism bubble plan that will take effect from the country’s National Day on September 16.
Nancy Shukri, minister of tourism, arts and culture, said on Thursday that only fully vaccinated adults will be allowed to cross state borders to travel to Langkawi. Those under the age of 18 will have to be accompanied by their parents who must both be fully vaccinated.
Additionally, those travelling by road to Langkawi must use transportation provided by local tour agencies from their point of origin to the ferry jetty terminal in Langkawi. That regulation, however, will not apply to those travelling by road from Kedah mainland or the nearby state of Perlis as well as those flying into Langkawi.
Travellers must also apply for a police permit to travel to Langkawi. To obtain these permits, they must show supporting documents such as flight ticket, ferry ticket, hotel receipts or travel package receipts.
Activities allowed in Langkawi include beach and water activities; special interest activities such as golfing, scuba diving, cycling, angling and yachting; academic tours; as well as eco-tourism activities such as bird watching, caving, mountain climbing, white water rafting and jungle trekking. Visits to museums, art galleries, cultural heritage centres, theme parks and family entertainment centres are also allowed.
Nancy also said the tourism bubble in Langkawi will be closely monitored and the ministry will obtain feedback from the local communities to be evaluated and submitted to the National Security Council for consideration and further action, such as the reopening of more tourist destinations.
According to Nancy, more than 85.8 per cent of the local population in Langkawi have been fully vaccinated, and by the time tourism opens on the island, that number would have increased to more than 90 per cent.
Sharmini Violet, director of sales and marketing at Langkawi-based Megawater Sports & Holidays, shared that she could now start targeted marketing of her products and services to locals. She said: “The announcement made it very clear as to who is eligible to travel to Langkawi and what is needed to travel. Earlier, the SOPs had not been made known, which made planning a weekend getaway in Langkawi impossible.”
Uzaidi Udanis, president of the Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association, expressed hope that other tourist islands, such as Redang and Tioman, where most of the local communities have already been vaccinated, will also soon be opened to domestic tourists similar to the Langkawi tourism bubble, before the start of the annual year-end monsoon season. He said: “At least tourism stakeholders will be able to enjoy a little bit of business.”