Domestic travel into Langkawi is only open to fully-vaccinated individuals. Visitors from all over Malaysia are eligible, except for those currently in areas under the EMCO/PKPD.
If you've had your bags packed for a vacation, here's what you need to know if you're keen to make a domestic trip to Langkawi.
Malaysia's Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) has released standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the tourism bubble for Langkawi, which will be open to all fully-vaccinated domestic tourists effective 16 September 2021.
As the first destination in MOTAC's travel bubble pilot, the following are the pre-requisites, listed out by Minister of Tourism, Art and Culture, Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, to assess if you are eligible to travel to Langkawi:
- Travel is only open to fully-vaccinated individuals (i.e. those who have completed two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine).
- The scheme is only on or after 16 September 2021.
- Langkawi can be visited by domestic tourists who meet the SOP criteria from all over the country (SOPs listed below), including from states in Phase 1 of the National Rehabilitation Plan.
- However, this permission does not apply to those who are currently in areas under the Enhanced Movement Control Order (PKPD, also known as EMCO).
- There is no age limit set for entry to Langkawi Island.
- However, individuals under the age of 18 must travel with a fully vaccinated guardian.
- Insurance coverage as well as COVID-19 screening is not mandatory.
- Requirements relating to the journey into Langkawi:
- Tourists have the option to go to Langkawi by air and land.
- For those coming in by road, they must use the services of travel agencies, at least for the transportation from their respective starting destination to the ferry jetty in Langkawi.
- For tourists who start their journey to Langkawi from Kedah and Perlis, as well as those who use the air route, they are not required to use the services of travel agencies.
For all eligible tourists to Langkawi, here are the SOPs:
- Limited to individuals who have completed two doses of vaccination;
- The types of vacations allowed are daily (round trip on the same day), overnight, vacations with pre-made accommodation/admission bookings, tour package vacations through a travel company licensed and registered with MOTAC;
- The number of passengers per vehicle while en route is subject to the actual capacity of the vehicle;
- Visitors who need to adjust to the ferry service hours to Langkawi are allowed to spend the night at registered accommodation premises in Kedah/Perlis;
- Visitors must show proof-of-purchase documents for tourism products such as flight tickets, ferry tickets, hotel receipts or travel package receipts when applying for permission with PDRM and when requested by SOP compliance agency enforcement;
- The permitted activities for the Langkawi tourism bubble include:
- Accommodation in hotels and homestays including facilities in hotel and homestay premises such as surau, swimming pool, gymnasium, lounge, hall, business events (MICE), tourism, and cultural events subject to the General Phase Four SOPs issued by MKN and SOPs of the Ministry/ Department/ Agency related;
- Beach activities, water sports, snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing tourism, edutainment centers, recreational parks, extreme/ adventure/ nature parks, farms, aquariums, zoos and other leisure, recreational and social activities;
- Special interest tourism activities (golfing, scuba diving, cycling, angling, yachting, etc.);
- Eco geo-travel activities (bird watching, caving, mountain climbing, white water rafting, hiking, jungle trekking, camping and so on);
- Premises of art, culture and heritage such as museums, libraries, art galleries, cultural heritage art centers/villages, staging of cultural performances and others;
- Theme parks and family entertainment centers; and
- Academic tours such as Geopark Discovery Center, art gallery, paddy field.
What are the next steps?
To ensure the smooth running of the programme and safeguard the interests of the society, MOTAC will monitor the implementation of the tourism bubble in Langkawi and will obtain community feedback related to the programme within two weeks. This feedback will later be evaluated and submitted to the National Security Council (NSC, also known as MKN) for consideration for further action, such as the opening of more tourist destinations in line with MOTAC's aspirations.
Further, the statement by the Ministry shared: "MOTAC urges the public who wish to travel to Langkawi Island to adhere to the SOPs that have been set to ensure that the Langkawi tourism bubble remains green and in turn can realise the planning of more domestic tourism bubbles in the future."
Lead image / 123RF