Published on : Thursday, September 16, 2021
Businesses at Langkawi are gearing up to welcome the return of tourists this week as Malaysia takes an early step towards recovery from a devastating COVID-19 crisis.
Langkawi, a cluster of 99 islands in the Straits of Malacca, will reopen from September 16 to fully vaccinated travellers.
As part of a domestic tourism bubble, it will reopen with strict protocols to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
Restaurant owner Esther Lee said she was excited the bubble was finally being launched.
Finally, Malaysia can welcome customers for tourism which is actually their main source of income.
The plan is similar to that introduced in Thailand.
It started in July with the reopening of Phuket, 220 km (137 miles) north of Langkawi, for vaccinated foreign tourists.
Malaysia has yet to invite foreign tourists to return.
Langkawi, known for its beaches, geoparks, birdlife and rock formations, is not expecting huge numbers initially.
It targets 400,000 visitors by the end of the year and estimated revenues of 165 million ringgit ($39.66 million).
Tuan Nasaruddin Abdul Muttalib, Head of the Langkawi Development Authority said that they still do not want congestion even though they need a high number.
Malaysia has recorded 2 million COVID-19 cases overall among its 32 million population.
It records one of Asia’s highest per-capita infection rates with more than 20,000 deaths.
Its vaccination program has progressed faster than its neighbours with more than half the population inoculated anticipating a quicker return to normalcy.