Tourism Ministry explores travel bubbles, Singapore top target

Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry officials have been working round the clock to find ways to promote tourism as the number of domestic travelers continues to increase.

As certain nations have started to relax border controls, there have been suggestions that Malaysia start accepting foreign visitors, especially Singaporeans, to help reignite the economy of the nation, especially Johor.

An insider revealed there have been discussions on the best way to protect Malaysia’s tourism industry which has taken a massive beating due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It’s not as straightforward as it seems. The border between Malaysia and Singapore is now open to business concerns or those who are working in the republic. Allowing tourists in will obviously be last on the agenda due to health reasons,” said the insider.

“But we also understand businesses in Johor, especially Johor Bahru, have been impacted with the absence of Singaporean visitors. So do we allow them only into that state? What if they venture into Melaka or elsewhere? Getting the enforcement bodies in will mean more manpower will be needed.

“We are seeking the right balance and taking the sensitivity of the rakyat into consideration.”

Earlier today, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said the idea of the travel bubble was not country to country but destination to destination.

“It’s between two green zones. But this will also mean strict monitoring (as some nations have recorded second and third Covid-19 waves).

“We have been tasked to define the new travel bubble and look at periodical travel … very close to us, which is Singapore.”

She added that the ministry wants locals to visit destinations in the country and it will continue luring foreigners to spend their holidays in Malaysia.

“We want to see the economy grow. Although things are not going (on well) as much as we want (to), we have to be prepared.”

Nancy said she has also spoken with ambassadors in the country to inform them about the ministry’s plans.

“We’ve spoken to Japan and Singapore and will meet several more (ambassadors) next week,” she added.

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