Published on Monday, September 28, 2020

Malaysia may open borders for foreign tourists in early-2021

Malaysia is targeting early 2021 to open borders for leisure travellers.

In an interview Tourism Malaysia's Director General Datuk Musa Yusof said cross-border travel for general tourism could start in the first quarter of 2021.

This is dependent on Malaysia containing the spread of Covid-19, he said.

It would likely be a phased reopening, with travellers from neighbouring ASEAN bloc countries allowed first.

"For our research, we looked at countries within the region, which is ASEAN nations. ASEAN alone has some 600 million people and is a major contributor to tourists coming to our country," he said.

"What we mean by cross-border tourism is situations where one doesn't necessarily have to get on a plane to travel here. We are looking at countries such as Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, and even Indonesia."

"These are the four nations that we are examining and reviewing as to whether travel can be allowed,'' he said.

Malaysia and Singapore have agreed to a 'Reciprocal Green Lane' allowing travel between the countries but this is currently reserved for essential travel.

"If this goes well, and no untoward issues arise, God willing, leisure travel will begin," he said.

Singapore makes up about 65% of the inbound market to Malaysia.

"From the tourism point of view, hopefully, we should see some movement by the first quarter of next year."


Written by Ray Montgomery, Asia Pacific editor

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