Many of us are just itching for interstate travel after over a year of border closure, and Langkawi announced last week that they’re opening up a travel bubble for fully vaccinated individuals.
Thai government introduced the “Phuket Sandbox” scheme as a calculated effort to revive their tourism by reopening sunny Phuket to fully vaccinated tourists who are free to explore the island without having to quarantine upon arrival.
On 9 September, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture officially announced that Langkawi will be launched as a pilot destination to be reopened to fully vaccinated local tourists beginning 16 September 2021.
Based on current plans, the domestic travel bubble will be established first before reopening international travel borders a few months down the road.
The Langkawi Travel Bubble signals the starting point of reviving domestic tourism and will be implemented with much caution to ensure the safety of all visitors.
Here are some SOPs that will be adhered to by anyone planning an end of year beach vacation, according to the announcement made by the Ministry of Tourism Arts, and Culture on 9 September:
- The tourism bubble will be available for fully vaccinated individuals nationwide [with the exception of those in EMCO (PKPD)] areas who have received two vaccine doses for at least 14 days.
- Children below the age of 18 who are not vaccinated are allowed to travel with fully vaccinated parents.
- Tourists will be required to flash their COVID-19 vaccine e-certificate whenever stopped or requested by authorities.
- Tourists are encouraged to keep receipts of booking confirmations as proof that they are visiting Langkawi for travel and leisure purposes.
- Trips can be made via flight or land, but those who wish to travel by land will have to book their transportation via a tour agency.
- Ferries will be allowed to operate at limited frequencies per day from Kuala Kedah and Kuala Perlis.
- Most tourist attractions and activities (with the exception of spas) will be allowed to operate. This includes nature parks, aquariums, zoos, museums, galleries, theme parks, and a variety of activities such as water sports, jungle trekking, hiking, camping, island hopping, and more.
- Facilities in hotels and home-stays such as swimming pools, gyms, and lounges will also be allowed to open as usual.
It should also be noted that tourists heading to Langkawi do not need to undergo Covid-19 screening before visiting the island resort when it reopens September 16 onwards, said Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.
She added that private vehicles are not allowed onto the island and tourists are encouraged to use the services of tour agencies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a serious toll on industries across the globe, hitting destinations that rely heavily on tourism, such as Langkawi, hard.
It is hoped that the reopening of Langkawi will help local operators regain their confidence and jobs after a long tourism drought, and signify light at the end of the tunnel.
Plan your annual leaves wisely, folks. Looks like we’ll be road tripping again soon.