Langkawi welcomes visitors as domestic tourism restarts in Malaysia

LANGKAWI: The first plane carrying tourists in more than four months touched down on the Malaysian island of Langkawi yesterday and was greeted by a twin water cannon "salute", marking the launch of a programme to revive a travel sector frozen by the pandemic.

The first batch of 159 travellers from Kuala Lumpur arrived eager for a vacation after a months-long, nationwide lockdown.

Langkawi, a group of 99 islands, is the test case in a drive to allow vaccinated domestic travellers to take part in holiday activities under agreed health protocols.

"My last holiday was last year... countless months already, I felt like I'll go mental soon," said Ms Beverly Tiew, 42, from Kuala Lumpur.

"So I'm excited and super, super happy and I'm thankful that the government is open about it and we can come and travel."

Malaysia has vaccinated more than half of its population.

It has recorded over 2 million cases and more than 20,000 deaths. - REUTERS