Tioman, Genting Highlands Tourism Bubble On Pause, Thailand Considers Allowing Malaysian Tourists

The Tioman Island and Genting Highlands tourism bubble scheduled to begin on 1 October has been suspended indefinitely. (Louis Gan/Unsplash)

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Many of us have been waiting to step foot on Tioman’s serene beaches and magnificent rainforest and try our luck at Genting Highlands’ casino. After a year of being cooped up in the confines of our four walls, we could use a little pick me up. However, while Langkawi Island has already reopened for domestic tourism, we will have to wait a little longer for a trip to Pulau Tioman and Genting Highlands.

Another u-turn

Tourism Pahang general manager Kamaruddin Ibrahim said the tourism bubble at Tioman Island and Genting Highlands, scheduled to begin on 1 October, has been suspended indefinitely.

He said the move was in response to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s announcement that the reopening of island resorts, tourism centres or destinations, and interstate travel would only be permitted once the country’s adult population had received 90% immunisation.

With this, only Pahang locals are permitted to travel to the state’s tourism areas while complying to tight SOPs. Out-of-state travellers who have already made bookings should contact tourism operators for guidance, whether to postpone their vacation or not.

The Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry had reportedly proposed that after Langkawi in Kedah, three other destinations, namely, Genting Highlands, Tioman Island, and Melaka be reopened to tourists under the domestic tourism bubble.

According to Kamaruddin, one of the SOPs established in Tioman Island was that guests must be completely vaccinated and present the results of their respective COVID-19 screening tests before boarding the ferry.

Visitors who want to do their own COVID-19 test can buy the equipment at the jetty or elsewhere, but the test must be done at the jetty terminal, he said.

Before being allowed to board the ferry, individuals who have the test done at a clinic must provide the test result for proof.

Thailand targets Malaysian tourists as it prepares to reopen. (Evan Krause/Unsplash)

Destination Thailand

Meanwhile, the Tourism Authority of Thailand wants Malaysia and Indonesia added to the list of nations that have been accepted for the country’s reopening tourism sandbox scheme.

Neither territory is among the 78 low-infection countries currently approved for the sandbox scheme, while Malaysia is not permitting its citizens to travel abroad.

However, daily COVID-19 cases in Malaysia have fallen below 15,000 — around the same number as Thailand — while Indonesia’s infection rate has fallen even further.

Malaysia has now fully vaccinated over 80% of its adult population against COVID-19.

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A journalist by profession, self-proclaimed horror movie expert by passion. Danisha needs to spend more time watching sunsets than Netflix. Ultimately, she's just another girl figuring out her place in the world in between the multitudinous demands of adult life.