VTL: Singapore's tourism operators ready to welcome Malaysian tourists

Tourism operators in Singapore are ready to welcome Malaysian travellers again under the recently announced designated Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) with enhanced standards. - Singapore Tourism Board

Tourism operators in Singapore are ready to welcome Malaysian travellers again under the recently announced designated Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) with enhanced standards, says the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

STB executive director (South-East Asia) John Gregory Conceicao said the VTL scheme is a significant milestone to allow for the gradual resumption of travel between Singapore and Malaysia.

“Singapore stands ready to welcome the return of Malaysian travellers to the city with our tourism partners. Travellers can look forward to a new standard of travel tailored to your changing needs and new experiences filled with reinvented, fresh and innovative offerings that ignite your passion,” he said in a statement.

From Nov 29, fully vaccinated travellers can travel between Singapore’s Changi Airport and Malaysia’s KL International Airport (KLIA) or KL International Airport 2 (KLIA 2) without having to serve a quarantine order or stay-home notice.Malaysia is the second country in South-East Asia after Brunei to be included in the VTL scheme.

Expedia observed an increase in search volume for travel between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur following the announcement of the VTL.

“In the first 24 hours since the announcement of the Singapore-Malaysia Vaccinated Travel Lane, we’ve observed positive reaction for travel to KL,” said Expedia communications head (Asia) Lavinia Rajaram.

She added that the travel booking includes those of flight as well as accommodations.

“Flights from Singapore to KL grew by 17 times in terms of search volume, while accommodation search interest for KL saw an increase of 60%,” she said.

Malaysian travellers looking to travel to Singapore via the VTL scheme can submit applications from Nov 22. For more information, visit safetravel.ica.gov.sg/arriving/overview.

Expand to Penang

Meanwhile, the Penang state government is pushing for the VTL to be extended to Penang International Airport (PIA) as well.

State tourism and creative economy committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said the inclusion of PIA will also boost visitor arrivals to Kedah, Perlis and Perak.

“The launch of VTL in KLIA is much welcomed, but I believe that PIA should also be included considering its position as an important gateway to northern Peninsular Malaysia.

“Putting PIA in the VTL list doesn’t only benefit Penang per se, but also other neighbouring states, which are all dependent on PIA as the only international airport for traffic and business opportunities,” he said in a statement. Yeoh added that the international air route between Changi International Airport and PIA recorded 107 flights per week during pre-pandemic days in November 2019, which he believes is a commendable figure that must be considered by the federal government.

According to Yeoh, Penang’s tourism sector is prepared to welcome tourists again. He noted that most of Penang’s tourism workers are fully vaccinated through tailored vaccination programmes.

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