Tourism Malaysia has outlined a plan to open cross-border leisure travel to international arrivals, potentially as early as the first three months of next year. Under the new plan, Malaysia would allow – and actively encourage – visits from foreign arrivals via neighbouring countries such as Singapore, Brunei, Thailand and Indonesia.
“These are the four nations that we are examining and reviewing as to whether travel can be allowed,” said Tourism Malaysia’s director-general, Musa Yusof, in a recent TV broadcast. “What we mean by cross-border tourism is situations where one doesn’t necessarily have to get on a plane to travel here,” he explained. The new regional network being proposed by Tourism Malaysia would present a safe and staggered approach to reopening tourism. Malaysia’s government is also a fan of the idea, and is working on formalising an initial travel bubble arrangement with Singapore and Thailand.
Plans are far advanced enough for various tourism operators in the region to already be making and promoting tours that follow the path outlined by the strategy. Thailand in particular is seen as the most likely partner for a regional tourism revival, with the Kingdom already reopening to international tourists under special long-term visa arrangements.
In the post-pandemic travel landscape, tourists are expected to favour outdoor trips and experiential travel over more conventional, indoor options such as malls and resorts. Panorama Destination is already preparing a range of eco-tours and sustainable product services in Malaysia and Thailand, each with an emphasis on environmental exploration and discovery of traditional cultures in the great outdoors.