Authorities in Australia and Malaysia have announced dates for the reopening of their international borders, almost two years since they were slammed shut due to the global COVID-19 outbreak.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced this week that Australia’s borders would open to all fully vaccinated tourists from 21 February 2022.
“If you’re double vaccinated, we look forward to welcoming you back,” Morrison said.
Likewise, Malaysia’s National Recovery Council (NRC) agreed Tuesday to open the nation’s borders by March, possibly as early as 1 March, in order to support economic recovery.
Visitors from all countries will be welcomed without the need for hotel quarantine pending the provision of negative COVID-19 tests before departure and upon arrival.
“This means tourists can visit, investors can come in,” said NRC chairman and former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
“The number of tourists will increase, and the tourism industry can recover. The aviation industry can recover and shops that depend on tourists will have increased business. We believe this decision is a good one.”
Malaysia currently has a vaccinated travel lane arrangement with neighboring Singapore but has until now limited the entry of tourists from other countries. The proposal still needs to be ratified by cabinet before becoming official but cabinet is widely expected to do so.
In a note, analysts from financial services firm Nomura said they greeted the announcement with “cautious optimism” given that tourism contributed around 15% of Malaysia’s GDP pre-COVID. They also said Genting Malaysia would be a beneficiary of the reopening.
“The resort, now complete with the theme park, will be able to market to international visitors who previously used to set aside one day in their Malaysia itinerary to visit Genting Highlands, but might have been skipping it during the construction period,” they wrote.