Malaysia has proposed a novel approach to the problem of reopening tourism: a travel bubble strategy that links together certified ‘green zones’ (areas confirmed to be free from Covid-19) rather than linking up with countries wholesale.
Speaking at the Meet in Malaysia campaign launch at the end of July, the country’s tourism minister outlined her vision for a safe and controlled revival in the nation’s tourism activity. Nancy Shukri, who is minister of tourism, arts and culture, explained the system would work both ways; green zones in Malaysia will be opened up to visitors travelling from similarly designated safe areas abroad.
According to the Minister, this would help Malaysia start the ball rolling on a tourism revival in the safest way possible. Countries already in line to connect their green zones with Malaysia’s include Australia, Brunei, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
“The proposal to hold a travel bubble with these countries is based on the potential of the market to contribute to overall economic growth, including trade activities, business, business travellers and the influx of foreign tourists, as well as significant short-term tourism income contribution to the country,” explained Shukri in a press conference that followed the event.
She added: “Its implementation is subject to bilateral discussions with paramount consideration on the aspects of health, immigration, data tracking and continuous monitoring by respective agencies concerned in both countries.”
Although the plan has not yet been finalised, it is a positive sign that Malaysia is ready to reopen, provided the right conditions are in place. After so long under lock and key, Malaysia’s tourism sector is at last beginning to see green shoots emerging.