Intra-regional holidays can boost tourism recovery in Malaysia

Malaysians who complete two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine may soon be allowed to travel interstate or even abroad. — YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

Intra-regional tourism will be instrumental in helping tourism recovery in Asean countries such as Malaysia, according to a recent travel report.

Travellers’ preference for holiday destinations closer to home, coupled with an abundance of low-cost connectivity, can potentially spur tourism activity in the region.

GlobalData’s latest report, Tourism Destination Market Insight- Asean (2021), revealed that intra-Asean travel is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5% from 2019 to 2024 and reach 56.6 million by 2024.

“With depleted budgets and Covid-19 fatigue setting in, travellers will be keen to travel and are more likely to select destinations closer to home, ” said GobalData tourism analyst Gus Gardner.

Gardner added that with the provision of relaxed visa policies between the member states, the barriers to travel are low and will help increase the intra-regional flows post-pandemic.

He is positive that intra-regional travel will achieve a healthy growth rate after accounting the devastating effects of Covid-19 on the global tourism industry.

“Given the cultural similarities and strict measures to tackle the virus, destinations within the region are likely to increase in popularity.

“This type of travel will provide the much-needed revenues for travel firms and could play an important role in revitalising the tourism economy before the travellers begin travelling further abroad again, ” he said.

More recently, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said individuals who complete two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine may be allowed to travel interstate or even abroad.

The decision is pending a meeting with the National Security Council.

“Boleh ke sana ke sini (can go here and there) without being stopped by the authorities, ” he said during the Shared Prosperity Vision town hall session recently.

Muhyiddin stressed that the loosening of rules was not an incentive, but an encouragement for those who had been vaccinated and given a digital certificate.

He also indicated that international travel could soon be possible for those who had been vaccinated.

The government has reportedly started talks with several countries to allow Malaysians who have received two doses of Covid-19 vaccine to travel with a certificate.

Interstate travel is still currently not allowed under the conditional and recovery movement control order phases. The second phase of the vaccine programme in Malaysia will begin on April 19. – Chester Chin

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