Malaysia Border Reopening Set To Accelerate Economic Recovery

Malaysia is reopening its borders from 1 April and will allow vaccinated tourists to enter the country without quarantine—a step that is set to speed up the economic recovery in one of ASEAN’s biggest economies. 

The border reopening is a crucial step toward a recovery of the tourism industry, which has suffered from two years of COVID-related travel and quarantine restrictions.

The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) welcomed the announcement of the border reopening, which is in line with what the association has been pushing for.

“We can finally start rebuilding the tourism sector and contributing to the Malaysia’s economic recovery,” MATTA President Datuk Tan Kok Liang said in a statement on 9 March.

Malaysia has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, with close to 80 percent of the total population fully vaccinated, and more than half of the population have already received their third dose.

“With a firm date, the industry can now begin its marketing and promotions activities and recalling tourism workers in stages back to work. The multiplier effect of tourist spending will invariably boost local economies and many sub sectors of the tourism industry,” MATTA’s president said.

According to a February assessment of Malaysia’s economy by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Malaysian economy is set for a gradual recovery, with real GDP growth at 3.1 percent in 2021 and projected to accelerate to about 5 ¾ percent in 2022, thanks to the authorities’ impressive vaccine rollout and swift implementation of economic policy support measures.

“Growth in 2022 is projected at about 5 ¾ percent driven by pent-up domestic demand and continued strong external demand,” the IMF said.