Malaysia reopened its international borders on Friday, allowing for quarantine-free travel and tourism for the first time in two years as the country switches to treating COVID-19 as endemic.
The reopening of International borders will allow friends and family members to reunite, as well as helps lessen shortages of desperately needed foreign labour. However, all air travellers must have a negative PCR test within 48 hours after departure.
The Civil Aviation Commission of Malaysia announced in a statement that 119 flights will arrive at Malaysian airports on Friday.
Flights have arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, the country’s busiest airport, from Hong Kong, South Korea, Australia, India, Qatar, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
Malaysia Airports Holdings, the Airport operator anticipates 21,000 foreign passengers on Friday alone, roughly six times the average daily international arrivals in 2021.
According to the Transport Ministry, around 400,000 individuals will pass the Malaysia-Singapore border in the first week.
Tourism Minister Nancy Shukri, who was at the airport to welcome a flight from Qatar, said the government anticipates two million tourists visiting the nation before the end of the year.
She estimated that this will generate more than 8.6 billion ringgit ($2 billion) in tourist revenue.
Only four million international tourists are expected to visit Malaysia in 2021, a drop of 83% from the 26.1 million visitors in 2019.
“We are very happy that the tourism and leisure industry players are finally breathing a sigh of relief,” Shukri said. “With the reopening, all they have to do is be prepared, but the government [is also] prepared to help them.”