13 November 2021
Economic sectors relying heavily on the travel industry stand to benefit when the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) between the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and Changi International Airport takes off on Nov 29.
The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) said the VTL was the first step towards rebuilding tourism.
MATTA president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said the initiative would catalyse the revival of the aviation industry, which had been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is a good pilot initiative to start the travel scheme with one entry.
“In time, it will be a boost to tourism recovery, especially on our counterparts as we can now expect higher tourist counts to our destinations,” he told New Straits Times.
Tan hoped the government would expand the scheme.
“A single entry is better than nothing, but we hope that more entries under the VTL travel scheme can be expanded, as that would fast-track tourism recovery.
“Perhaps the government can next allow tourists from Singapore to enter through other airports, such as the Penang International Airport.
“We also hope that the VTL scheme can be expanded to include more countries, such as more Asean countries as well as others around the globe.”
He said with the country slowly entering the endemic phase of Covid-19, Malaysia had to move with current global travel trends.
“Most countries have begun to halt their travel bubble schemes. So, I believe it is time for us to look into ways to move along with the trend albeit within Asean.
“We also hope that the government will relax more travelling regulations while prioritising the safetyof all tourists in the future.”
Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) chief executive officer Yap Lip Seng said the VTL scheme was timely.
He said hotels had high hopes of restarting international tourism with selected markets.
“Industry players have been in close contact with our counterparts in Singapore to discuss safe travel products and services from both sides.
“As of now, hoteliers are well prepared and will expect more details from relevant government agencies soon.
“On the ground, hoteliers are preparing with hygiene and safety practices as well as standard operating procedures for added assurance to travellers,” he said.
Yap said MAH had advised its members to priotise hygiene and safety, in anticipation of an influx of bookings,.
“This includes further encouraging hotels to get certified under the Clean & Safe Malaysia hotel certification programme with Bureau Veritas Certifications Malaysia”.
On Nov 8, the government had announced that Malaysia and Singapore had agreed to set up a VTL between KLIA and Changi Airport beginning Nov 29.
The VTL would allow fully vaccinated people to travel between both countries without quarantine but they would need to test negative for Covid-19.
Malaysia and Singapore had also said there had been progress in discussions on a similar vaccinated travel scheme, to reopen travel across the Causeway and the Second Link, while taking into account the public health situations in Johor and Singapore.
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