What you need to know about the Langkawi travel bubble plan
Is it the right time?
Updated as of 15 September 2021:
In a virtual press conference yesterday, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri has shared more details on the upcoming Langkawi travel bubble plan, which starts on September 16. Here is a gist of the latest updates:
- Only fully-vaccinated people are allowed (including those who are residing in states under Phase One)
- Those who fully vaccinated but are residing in areas under EMCO will not be entitled
- Interested tourists will have a choice between the flight or land routes
- Travelling by road: You'll have to go through a tourist agency OR at least "use transportation services from the start of their journey to the Langkawi ferry jetty". In addition, the number of passengers allowed per vehicle is subject to the vehicle capacity
- Travelling by air: You won't need to go through a travel agency. Travellers also would not need a permission letter from the police, as clarified in a new tweet by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin on September 12
- Visiting from Kedah/Perlis: No need for a travel agency either
- Applying for police permission to travel: Yes, you'll need a police permit if you're travelling by land. The travel agencies will assist in applying for the permit from the police. You'll need to show proof of purchase such as ferry tickets or hotel receipts
- Only the following types of vacation trips are allowed: "A day visit, overnight stay, vacation with accommodation booking made in advance and travel packages through a travel company licensed and registered with the ministry"
- No age limit: But those under 18 must travel with fully-vaccinated parents
- Pre-departure Covid-19 tests are compulsory: In a new statement released on Sept 15, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced that travellers heading to Langkawi under the travel bubble scheme will need to take a Covid-19 test—it can be either an RT-PCR or RTK-Antigen test—before departure. "This can be done at any health facility or private laboratory within 48 hours prior to the departure date. Test results must be brought along for inspection at the entrance (airport or ferry terminal) prior to departure,” he said. Alternatively, travellers can purchase a saliva self-test from the screening centres at the airport or ferry terminal.
- Who needs to do the pre-departure Covid-19 tests: Adults aged 18 and above as well as children aged 7-17 years old. Children aged 6 and below will need to undergo symptomatic screening, while taking into account their ability to produce saliva.
Tourism actives that are allowed:
Accommodation: Hotels and homestays, which will also allow the usage of facilities such as surau, swimming pools, gymnasium, lounge, hall and business events.
Activities: Beach activities, water sports, snorkelling, scuba diving, golf, cycling, angling, yachting, as well as geo-travel activities (such as bird watching, caving, hiking and jungle trekking).
Attractions: Fishing tours, edutainment centres, recreation parks, extreme/adventure/nature parks, farms, aquariums, zoos and other leisure, recreational and social activities.
Malaysia continues to inch towards rebuilding the economy and helping its citizens return to some form of normalcy—albeit while still adhering to strict SOPs—with the transition to Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan for some states and the ease of restrictions for those under Phase One. This is especially so for those who are fully vaccinated.
ICYMI: There were several updates made last night, such as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announcing that beginning September 4, Melaka will be under Phase Two while Negeri Sembilan will be under Phase Three.
The only states are still under Phase One are Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Putrajaya and Kedah.
The local travel sector too will be seeing some movement as Langkawi has been selected as the pilot project for a travel bubble plan. Despite being in the state of Kedah, Langkawi will be open to locals from September 16. This was in agreement by the Special Committee to Address Covid-19.
This special committee has been renamed from the National Security Council and includes representatives from the opposition parties.
"Other tourist destinations will be allowed to operate when the locality vaccination rate reaches 80%," he said.
According to The Straits Times, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that Covid-19 will be treated as endemic, and it is time for Malaysians to learn to live with the virus.
Further data has shown that 64 per cent of the adult population has been fully inoculated. In addition, based on projected data, Ismail Sabri mentioned that the average vaccination rate among adults in each state is expected to reach 80 per cent by month-end, and 100 per cent by late October.
In other news, the update for the MySejahtera app is now available to iOS users, and soon on Android and Huawei App Gallery. The update has received plenty of praise online as it's now easier to check one's risk level and vaccination status. In addition, there is now a check-out button.
“A check-out button has also been added in the latest update of MySejahtera. This is to improve contact tracing. After leaving a place, please remember to check-out. You only need to press a button—no scan needed,” tweeted Khairy Jamaluddin.
There will be more updates to come for the app.
In the meantime, we'll be back to update the details of the travel bubble plan as soon as it's available. What do you think of this development?