Gulf Today

Malaysia to ease border controls for tourists

- Mariecar Jara-puyod, Senior Reporter

SHARJAH: With the aim of continuall­y connecting countries and cultures together, Malaysia is participat­ing in the May 16 to 19 “Arabian Travel Mart (ATM) 2021” with 16 tourism establishm­ents as virtual participan­ts and three others to be physically present at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

On Tuesday, it was learnt that ease of border controls to foreign tourists would be implemente­d in phases. There are two priorities. First, the so-called “Green Countries” whose citizens and expatriate residents are not subjected to the mandatory COVID-19 quarantine measures upon upon arrival. The second group consists of Asian countries so far identified as “Tourism Bubbles” or those which successful­ly contained the SARS-COV2 namely Singapore, Japan, Vietnam, China, and Brunei Darussalam.

Malaysian Ambassador to the UAE Mohammed Tariq Bin Sufian said on Tuesday: “Malaysia has been one of the strongest supporters of the (ATM) since its inception. Malaysians share many common cultural and religious ties with the people in the region including (the promotion of) tolerance and unity. Discoverin­g Malaysia would bring people closer together (and understand one another) as exemplifie­d by (the recent exchange of visits) by His Majesty the King Al Sultan Abdullah of Malaysia and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Prime Minister of Malaysia to the UAE as well as by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the UAE, to Malaysia.”

Malaysia Tourism Board-dubai director Shahrin Mokhtar detailed that prior to the Novel Coronaviru­s (COVID19) pandemic, 300,000 Middle Easterners used to visit the country each year: Saudis at 131,000; Omanis between 40,000 and 50,000; Kuwaitis,15,000; and Emiratis between 11,000 and 12,000. Their yearly tourism receipts were valued at three billion Malaysian Ringgit (Dhs2,658,071,021.10).

The participat­ion of the Southeast Asian economy at the ATM 2021 is the second this year. The first was at the March “Gulf Travel Show.” There, it was learnt that relative to all the internatio­nallyaccep­ted COVID-19 guidelines, the country had opened up its borders to internatio­nal investors and businessme­n several months back. These travellers must not deviate from their respective itinerarie­s submited to pertinent bodies in Kuala Lumpur prior to entry.

Recently, the meeting between Malaysian Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, was “a much-needed impetus” for the relations of the two countries, according to Kuala Lumpur’s top diplomat.

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