Confirmed: Langkawi to welcome domestic travellers starting September 16
Are you ready to travel again? I am and will do so safely. Here’s everything I have been made aware of the reopening of Langkawi as a tourism bubble.
The pandemic has affected all of us in varying degrees. Have you been bitten by the travel bug? An overdue vacation to the archipelago of 99 islands nestled at the mouth of the Straits of Malacca might just be the antidote you desperately need.
* Updated September 2: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob confirmed Langkawi will reopen to domestic travellers starting September 16.
* The content below was published on August 25:
Not unlike Bali and Phuket, the tourism-dependent destination has suffered tremendously from border closures. Your vote of confidence will bring much joy to the islanders whose livelihoods are inexorably tied with tourism dollars.
As Malaysia approaches the threshold for herd immunity against Covid-19, Langkawi is gearing up for the return of holidaymakers. Cited as one of the pioneers for the resumption of tourism, authorities in Langkawi are working overtime to ensure the island meets the set criteria for reopening, which include the vaccination of the local population.
According to a credible industry source who was privy to the latest information disseminated by the Langkawi Development Authority (LADA), the island will once again be welcoming domestic travellers when the island achieves the 80% vaccination target.
As of 18 August 2021, 70.1% of the local population have completed their second doses. It is projected that the threshold of herd immunity will be met in the first week of September, paving the way for Langkawi to embrace travellers.
In the event sought to engage with various hospitality and tourism players from the Malaysian Association of Hotels, Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners, Malaysia Budget and Business Hotel Association, and Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, LADA CEO presented the MySafe Langkawi campaign as one of the pivotal initiatives to assure and boost the confidence of travellers.
Hotel and tourism product owners are required to register with LADA by downloading the application form available on LADA’s website. To ensure they understand the guideline established by the authorities, one representative is required to attend the Covid 19 Education and Risk Assessment course conducted by the Malaysian National Security Council (MKN) in order to attain the certificate.
On top of that, LADA CEO also presented SOPs for domestic travellers and international chartered flights. The source, however, didn’t elaborate the SOPs in detail. The anticipation for the official SOPs for Langkawi as a tourism bubble to be issued by MKN is “soon.”
Dine-in will be allowed. It is contingent on the capacity of the restaurant alongside the adherence to SOPs, including social distancing. Conferences and exhibitions will not be allowed, while entertainment outlets such as night clubs will stay shut during this period.
To facilitate inbound travellers into Langkawi, ferry trips will be bolstered to 10 trips per day – 4 trips from Kuala Kedah and 6 trips from Kuala Perlis. The total daily capacity is expected to be 3,000 people.
In a South China Morning Post news report, quoting Tropical Charters CEO Alexander Isaac, Langkawi won’t be replicating the Phuket sandbox programme which has done away with quarantine on arrival. Vaccinated international travellers are expected to undergo a brief period of self-isolation when the island is ready to admit them in December 2021 or January 2022.
Separately, according to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Labuan will enter the phase 4 of the National Recovery Plan on August 26. This status ensures all economic activities on the Bornean island will return to full capacity.
Hero and feature images by Eric Martin
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