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Malaysia To Reopen | Langkawi For Domestic Tourism

KUALA LUMPUR: Langkawi will become the first destination in Malaysia to reopen to domestic tourists from September 16, subject to conditions that are still being worked out.

Details on whether travel to Langkawi Island is open to all Malaysians or only to those who are fully vaccinated, have yet to be announced. Currently, the interstate travel ban is still enforced nationwide.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on August 2 that other tourist destinations in the country will be allowed to operate once local vaccination rates reach 80 percent.

Langkawi Business Association president, Anthony Wong, said: “It is indeed very good news for tourism stakeholders in Langkawi, as the destination has had to shut down since June 1. However, we have to be very cautious and heed all the standard operating procedures, as we don’t want any Covid-19 clusters, which may result in another lockdown.”

According to Wong, many tourism stakeholders in Langkawi are taking a wait-and-see approach. “Not all hotels will open up. Those that do, will take a slow approach, and open part of their inventory to meet initial demand,” he said.

Wong, who is also the managing director of Cottage by the Sea by Frangipani Langkawi, said he will initially open 20 to 30 rooms out of the total 115, depending on demand, and work with minimum staff. Operations will scale up as demand increases. Wong expects demand to peak in December.

Adam Kamal, secretary-general at the Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association, shared that the two-week lead time will give travellers the opportunity to plan their holiday and allow tourism stakeholders to prepare for the long-awaited reopening.

He said: “Hotels can start sprucing up their rooms and operators can start servicing their vehicles and updating their products.”

However, he opined that operators outside of Langkawi might not be able to benefit much from the destination’s reopening, as hotels would likely “market directly to consumers and have pre-opening offers which are lower than the agents contracted rates”, while local Langkawi operators would dangle attractive offers via social media and email marketing, again, directly aimed at travelers.

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