By Corina Tan
On September 16, 2021, the Malaysian Tourism Industry attempts a pilot project reopening of Langkawi Island. Langkawi, in the state of Kedah, will open to locals under a travel-bubble plan, taking a page out of its neighbouring island Phuket and its sand-box scheme. The travel-bubble plan hopes to revive the tourism industry and boost the economy, with more destinations to follow once the vaccination rate hits 80 per cent in different localities.
Public fatigue following the repetitive Movement Control Order that began in March 2020 has reached an all-time high, whereas daily cases remain elevated despite the country’s best efforts and tight SOPs in place everywhere. Preparing for life with COVID-19, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that COVID-19 will be treated as endemic and it is time for Malaysians to learn to live with the virus. Relaxed SOPs as of August 10 2021, has come into effect for fully vaccinated individuals, giving the public some freedom to carry out selected activities by displaying their digital vaccination certification. The move to now allow people to also travel is an encouraging one, as we take this first step towards living life with COVID-19.
Air carriers like Malindo Air have already announced their support to reinvigorate the national economy by offering six flights daily to the island. “In conjunction with the reopening of Langkawi to fully vaccinated passengers, and also in celebrating Malaysia Day, effective Sep 16, Malindo Air is offering a 15kg free baggage allowance to all Super Saver ticket holders travelling on all Malindo Air flights,” Malindo Air’s chief executive officer Captain Mushafiz Mustafa Bakri said. Whereas Malaysian Aviation Group Chief Executive Officer, Captain Izham Ismail said that Malaysia Airlines is also ready to facilitate travel for the fully vaccinated to Langkawi by increasing its daily flight capacity to meet travel demands. MAS is also offering all-in-fares, while its tour operating arm MHholidays will be offering travel packages of flights+hotels.
As the decision to reopen Langkawi is received with a mixed reaction of excitement and cautious anticipation, it doesn’t hurt to start making plans to have that long-awaited getaway where sun, sea and sand awaits! Some notable luxury resorts and spas that should not be missed include:
All resorts will be adhering to very strict health and safety measures including making sure all employees and staff are fully vaccinated. Guests will be screened upon arrival and required to wear masks in public indoor spaces and when receiving in-room services. Cleaning protocols will also be heightened in rooms and around the resorts, while restaurants, swimming pools, gyms and spas may also reduce capacity and enforce social distancing. Safety continues to remain a shared responsibility and all Malaysians planning to travel should be ready and willing to do their part to adhere to all SOPs implemented while enjoying the facilities in place.