1 April 2022
Over 10,000 foreign travellers and Malaysians residing abroad are expected to arrive at airports nationwide as the country reopens its borders today.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said the reopening of the border will bring huge impact to the tourism industry of the country, subsequently facilitating the nation’s economic recovery.
The ministry, she said, was targeting two million international tourist arrivals this year.
“This is like Hari Raya for tourism players, since we have been patiently waiting for this moment.
“Tourism activities have been quiet (due to the Covid-19 prevention restrictions). All tourism industry players are excited to welcome back tourists into the country,” she told reporters at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here today.
Also present were Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) managing director Datuk Iskandar Mizal Mahmood and Immigration Department deputy director-general (management) Datuk Zakaria Shaaban.
Earlier, Nancy welcomed the arrival of Etihad Airways flight EY0148 from Abu Dhabi where the aircraft was received with a water cannon salute while the 220 passengers comprising foreign visitors and Malaysians returning to the country were greeted with mementos.
The aircraft is the sixth international flight to land at KLIA following the reopening of the country’s borders, which also coincided with the first day Malaysia transitions into the endemic phase.
A total of 119 flights are expected to arrive at airports nationwide with 80 of them scheduled to land at KLIA and klia2.
Nancy described the expected two million international tourists arrival was a “conservative target” and the ministry was upbeat it could achieve it.
“With the resumption of cross-border travel between Malaysia and Singapore, we can easily achieve one million foreign visitors two weeks after the country’s borders reopen. Perhaps, we can achieve our target of two million within three months.
“I was also informed that resorts operating at islands in Terengganu have been fully booked until July this year,” she said.
“Many tourism players did not expect that we will reopen the border today. They, nevertheless, are prepared to receive tourists.
“Moving forward, maybe some of them will employ more people to meet the increase in arrival of tourists,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zakaria said early preparations have been made to ensure smooth process of tourist arrivals at 183 counters operating at airports throughout the country.
“At the moment, 50 per cent of the manual counters are operating while all auto gates are always operating.
“The department will open more counters depending on the increase in the arrival of tourists,” he said.
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