Malaysia is considering implementing travel bubbles with green status regions declared at the end of July Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.
“If we want to wait for a country to turn into green status, it may change overnight,” she told a press conference after launching the Meet in Malaysia Campaign here today.
Nancy Shukri stressed that Motac and the Foreign Ministry would meet on Monday to discuss and identify the green regions that could collaborate with Malaysia on the proposed travel bubbles. The proposed regions that Malaysia would be looking at include from Australia, Brunei, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
“It will work if the countries agree with each other. We are looking around for countries that can open up their green region to us,” she said.
Nancy said the idea of having travel bubbles with green status regions was based on the potential of the market to contribute to overall economic growth. “These include trade activities, business, business travellers and the influx of foreign tourists as well as significant short-term tourism income contribution to the country, by taking into account the safety and health aspects,” she said.
The Minister said however that its implementation was subject to bilateral discussions, with paramount consideration given to aspects of health, immigration, data tracking and continuous monitoring by the relevant agencies of the countries concerned.
Malaysia recorded 4.23 million tourist arrivals in the first quarter of this year, a drop of 36.8 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, said the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board (Tourism Malaysia). However, the decline in arrivals should be larger for the second quarter as the whole effect of the COVID-19 pandemic would be felt with the closure of all international borders.