Travellers may soon be able to fly into Malaysia's Langkawi island without passing through its main state of Kedah — if the plan to vaccinate at least 80% of the 97,000 population comes to pass.
At a recent gathering with local tourism players, Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) noted that authorities are still working on the travel bubble — which is dependent on the changing Covid-19 situation as well as further announcements from the federal government.
For now, the initial plan is to open up Langkawi to the rest of the state (mainland Kedah), possibly in September, and to other states in the next phase. International travel will only be considered in 2022.
Qatar Airways has reportedly expressed its readiness to operate seven flights a week from 121 of its international destinations to Langkawi, once the island opens to international travellers. Also reported recently was Kuching as a possible second travel bubble for the country.
While authorities map out the bubble plan, Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Kedah & Perlis chapter chairman, Eugene Dass, said that member hotels in Langkawi are gearing up with the Clean and Safe hotel certification.
The association is now in discussion with its training arm to carry out SOP practice sessions for all members, added Dass.
Hotels and resorts on the island are now laying out plans for a possible September opening.
At Tanjung Rhu Resort Langkawi, which temporarily closed in May, about 30% of the workforce are still on site to ensure that the resort is well maintained and ready to open at short notice, said Reginald T Pereira, CEO and president of Aariana Hospitality International, which manages the resort.
“We have already had several meetings with the key management team on the packages that we are going to launch very soon. We are confident that the response would be very good as what we experienced in 2020 when the country went into (a less restrictive lockdown),” said Pereira.
Similarly, ADYA Hotel is currently operating with minimal manpower providing accommodation to the island’s essential workers, but the hotel's general manager Razmi Rahmat is targeting full operations in September if the bubble plan goes well.
Dependent on the country’s situation and directive from the government, he hopes to also revive functions and events at ADYA Hotel in October.