PUTRAJAYA, June 15 — Langkawi, which has been selected as a pilot travel destination for the COVID-19 Free Destination Programme, received a shot in the arm when leading airline Qatar Airways has expressed its interest to resume direct flights from Qatar to the resort island.

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC), in a statement today said it was among Qatar Airways’ initiatives and proposals in facing the COVID-19 pandemic.

The matter was revealed to Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, by Qatar Airways country manager Datuk Muzammil Mohamad, in an online discussion today.

The online discussion was also attended by Qatari Ambassador to Malaysia Fahad Mohd Y Kafoud and MOTAC secretary-general Datuk Dr Noor Zari Hamat who touched on the challenges faced by the tourism industry that was severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the potential implementation of ‘travel bubble’ between Malaysia and Qatar when national borders are opened for tourism activities.

Nancy, in the statement issued by MOTAC, said Malaysia welcomed the close cooperation with Qatar and hoped the project would revive the tourism industry, especially in Langkawi after all the islanders reached herd immunity and the country’s borders are reopened.

“Langkawi is chosen as one of the pilot tourism destinations because the island is also the gateway for international flights including Qatar Airways.

“It is also part of initial preparations to boost the tourism industry and it will also be implemented in stages in other locations,” she said.

MOTAC was earlier reported to have applied to expedite the vaccination process of workers in the tourism sector and sub-sectors in Langkawi.


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