Malaysia’s top holiday spots reopening with domestic tourism bubble

 Thursday, September 16, 2021 

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Businesses at Malaysia’s top holiday spots are preparing to welcome return of tourists this week, with the country taking an early step toward recovering from the deadly virus.

Langkawi, a cluster of 99 islands in the Straits of Malacca, will reopen from Sept. 16 for fully vaccinated travelers as part of a domestic tourism bubble, maintaining stringent measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Restaurant owner Esther Lee said that she is excited with the bubble finally being launched. “Finally we can welcome customers and this is actually our main source of income to actually survive,”Lee said.

The plan is similar to the one introduced in Thailand, which started with the July reopening of Phuket, 220 kms (137 miles) north of Langkawi, for vaccinated foreign tourists.

Like Phuket, Langkawi, popular for its beaches, geoparks, bird life and rock formations, is not expecting huge numbers at first, with an aim of 400,000 visitors by the end of the year and estimated revenue of 165 million ringgit ($39.66 million).

“We still do not want congestion even though we need a high number. What is important is that we can control the tourists to ensure their compliance,” said Tuan Nasaruddin Abdul Muttalib, head of the Langkawi development authority.

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