The Malaysian government has commenced Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) with Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia as part of joint efforts to reopen international borders.
The quarantine-free travel arrangement for fully vaccinated travellers will come into effect on March 15.
Malaysian transport minister Wee Ka Siong, said: “These routes are expected to aid our mutual economic recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in reviving the ailing tourism industry.”
For the VTL with Thailand, designated airlines from both countries will be allowed to mount up to six flights daily for the Kuala Lumpur-Bangkok route, and up to four flights daily for the Kuala Lumpur-Phuket route. Additional routes may be added, subject to mutual agreement by both countries.
For the VTL with Cambodia, designated airlines from both countries will be allowed to operate up to two flights daily on the Kuala Lumpur-Phnom Penh route, while additional routes may be added should demand dictates.
Malaysia Inbound Tourism Association’s president Uzaidi Udanis stated that the “VTLs are a privilege to tourists, who cannot visit Malaysia otherwise”, and urged the government to make it compulsory for VTL travellers to use the services of travel agents to ensure compliance of Covid-19 standard operating procedures. This policy is implemented with the Langkawi International Travel Bubble model.
KL Tan, president of Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents, opined that the Malaysian VTLs were lagging behind the initiatives of other governments, as many have announced full border reopening.
With the current global practices of countries transiting away from VTLs in favour of welcoming vaccinated travellers from all countries, Tan said Malaysia should follow suit while making the necessary modifications based on country of origin, travel history and negative Covid-19 status.
Currently, Malaysia only has an air and land VTL arrangement with Singapore, which was implemented on November 29, 2021. An air VTL for Penang-Singapore would commence on March 16.