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Tuesday 17 August 2021

Malaysia ready to reopen to tourists

Malaysia has revealed plans to implement a tourism bubble network on some of its most popular island destinations.

Now all Australians need is one of those sneaky travel exemptions for business reasons - which are reportedly easier to come by if you live in a marginal electorate.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has said the Malaysian Government is looking at plans to open Langkawi as a tourism bubble pilot project, Travel Mole reported.

Now Tourism Minister Nancy Shukri says the idea has been extended to include the resort islands of Pangkor, Redang, Tioman and Perhentian, as they could reach herd immunity vaccination rates by the end of the August.

That would allow them to reopen by September, the minister said.

A final decision will depend on what protocols the government imposes for a tourism reopening.

"The decision to reopen the tourism sector must be made after an in-depth study and with great care to prevent an outbreak," the Tourism Ministry said in a statement. "At the same time, the ministry is updating and finalising the SOPs for the tourism sector."

As in Thailand, the bubble approach works well on resort islands, that are physically easier to manage tourist movement, Shukri said.

The Prime Minister said those allowed to travel to Langkawi would have to be fully vaccinated and this is expected to be imposed for the other islands as well.

Langkawi is the most northern archipelago located on the west side of Malaysia.

Located 30km off the mainland, the archipelago consists of the main island Langkawi and almost 100 small surrounding islands; only four of them are inhabited.

Langkawi lies close to the border of Thailand with the nearest Thai island of Koh Lipe only a 30-minute boat ride away.

# The Prime Minister and his government resigned late on Monday, leaving plans in limbo. 

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