MATTA banks on RGL to pave way for leisure travel resumption

KUALA LUMPUR (NSTP): The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) is hoping that the Reciprocal Green Lane/ Travel Corridor (RGL/TCA) arrangement between Malaysia and Indonesia will pave the way for leisure travel to resume soon.

MATTA honorary secretary-general Nigel Wong said with the imminent COVID19 vaccination rollout, they are hoping that the latest initiative will gradually evolve into allowing leisure travel and not just business or essential travel.

He said MATTA had previously made proposals to the government for the reopening of international borders.

“We hope that the managed reopening of borders will take place sometime this year so that the tourism sector can start the recovery process,” he said, adding that international arrivals are key to the survival of the tour and travel industry.

He however conceded that things will not be returning to normal until at least the end of the year or into 2022.

Recently, Foreign Affairs Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob had said that Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed in principle to implement the RGL scheme.

The scheme was agreed upon during Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s one-day official visit to the republic for a meeting with President Joko Widodo on Feb 5.

Shahrul Ikram, however, said the RGL is not open to all as it is only to facilitate travel for government officials and investors from both countries and to enhance trade, particularly concerning high-value dealers.

Asked when the travel bubble for leisure travel should start, Wong said; “We have no idea when the travel bubble will start given the fluidity of the situation.

“However, we do hope for significant progress by establishing the necessary protocols for when it does happen.”

On Feb 7, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said the ministry has held discussions with the Health Ministry, Home Ministry and Foreign Affairs Ministry to explore opportunities by creating travel bubbles with neighbouring countries.

Among the countries identified are Brunei, Singapore and Thailand, as well as other Asean countries and Asia Pacific countries such as Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, which have been identified as safe by the World Health Organisation (WHO).- SOURCE: NSTP

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