PETALING JAYA: The decision to drop six-day Covid-19 testing for travelers arriving in Malaysia from overseas has been welcomed by local tourism stakeholders.
Local tour operators said the move could help boost tourism and encourage more people to visit the country by air and land. Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) program between Malaysia and Singapore, Langkawi International Tourism Bubble (LITB) and One Stop Center (OSC) for short-term business visitors.
Travelers only need to be tested two days before arrival and upon arrival. They no longer need to self-test on the 2nd, 4th and 6th day and be tested by doctors on the 3rd, 5th and 7th day.
Malacca Tourism Association chairwoman Madelina Kuah said she welcomed the move.
“Most airlines require travelers to get tested using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test before boarding their flights. Once the test result is negative, you should be fine because the risk of infection is much lower,” she said.
Kuah said travelers should feel confident about the new guidelines as long as they follow SOPs, such as wearing face masks, using sanitizer and maintaining physical distancing.
Go Tifi travel agency co-founder Datuk Indera Naresh Mohan said the move would allow international tourists to explore beyond Langkawi to other parts of the country.
However, he said it was too early to assess the impact of this decision on the industry, as the borders are still closed to most travellers.
Singapore-based Malaysian engineer Leong Chew Ping, who plans to return to Malaysia via the VTL, said he will continue to practice the daily tests to ensure his safety and that of those around him.
The 26-year-old, who is attending his university graduation ceremony in Sabah, said dropping the requirement would no doubt help older travelers who are unfamiliar with using the kits. ‘self test.
“I think this decision will encourage more people to travel to Malaysia, especially when they don’t need to do daily self-tests and go to clinics for supervised RTK test on the third and seventh day. “, said Leong.
Another traveler who wanted to be known as Sonia said that as a responsible traveler she would adhere to the guidelines when visiting family in Kuala Lumpur.
However, Langkawigo Escape Holidays Managing Director Mohd Fadhillah Mohd Rodzi said the move would impact tour guides and car rental service providers as their services would be less needed now.
“When the LITB was first introduced, it helped car rental companies and tour guides earn income by helping visitors take their Covid-19 tests.
“However, their services will no longer be needed now and thus lose a source of revenue,” he said.
On Monday, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said he had dropped the requirement for travelers under the three programs to undergo Covid-19 RTK-Ag tests.
Existing SOPs and protocols are still in effect for travelers not entering the country through the three programs.