Malaysia expects to attract two million international tourist arrivals this year with RM8.6 billion in tourism receipts following the reopening of the country’s borders, says Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Nancy Shukri.
She said today’s reopening would mean a big recovery for the tourism industry.
“We have been waiting patiently for this moment. This is like our ‘Hari Raya’ (celebration),” she said as she welcomed 220 passengers arriving on Etihad Airways flight EY418 from Abu Dhabi at KLIA today.
Nancy said there were about 100 flights scheduled to arrive at Malaysia’s airports today carrying over 10,000 passengers, including foreign visitors, with 80 of them arriving at KLIA and klia2.
“The industry is excited to welcome visitors again after tourism activities have been quiet for the past two years,” she said, adding that industry players were well-prepared, especially the operators of homestay and eco-tourism activities in rural areas.
Meanwhile, immigration department deputy director-general (management) Zakaria Shaaban said the facilities at the country’s 183 gateways were ready to receive arrivals with the activation of auto gates and manual counters.
“The immigration is prepared to open more manual counters as needed. So far, the existing counters can accommodate travellers’ arrivals without any congestion,” he said.
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) general manager Iskandar Mizal Mahmood said they had been preparing since last month with the cooperation of the transport and health ministries to facilitate travellers’ arrival process.
He said MAHB’s volunteers and task force had been mobilised at the airports to assist travellers, especially on the use of the MySejahtera application, for a period of two weeks.