Malaysia’s tourism sector is making excellent progress on the road to recovery following Covid-19. This month, a wide range of attractions are set to reopen as part of Malaysia’s ongoing National Recovery Plan (NRP), which includes the return of interstate travel. The latest news comes following prolonged success with mass vaccinations, which have helped prepare Malaysia for the safe and manageable return of tourists.
On 22 September, Malaysia’s Prime Minister and various government officials announced that tourism-related activities will be allowed to resume. “We will allow tourism centres, islands (to reopen), and interstate travel with the condition of achieving 90% adult vaccination according to Health Ministry’s data,” said the PM in an official public statement. The decision was reiterated by Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who chairs the special committee managing the Covid-19 pandemic, in an official statement last week.
From 1 October onwards, various tourism attractions will be allowed to operate under the new NRP arrangements. This includes zoos, farms, aquariums, snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing tourism and forest parks. The latest revival also includes spas, wellness centres and health massages, provided all operators and visitors are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. In addition, grocery stores, mini markets, restaurants, petrol stations and convenience stores are now permitted to have longer operating hours (6am to midnight). These rules came into effect from 23 September onwards. Theme parks are expected to reopen from November onwards, with an official government announcement to that effect expected imminently.
Around 80% of Malaysia’s adult population (57.5% of the total population) is already fully vaccinated, with 90% coverage expected to be reached by the end of October. Mass vaccination efforts are already switching focus to teenagers. On 16 September, Malaysia resumed domestic travel via a travel bubble scheme centred around the island of Langkawi. With the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry (MOTAC) declaring the travel bubble a success, Malaysia will soon be ready to lift interstate travel restrictions, reopen attractions and expand tourism operations nationwide. Once all these changes are operational, the stage will be set for the return of international travellers.