KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 30 — The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) is targeting Langkawi Island to be the first tourist destination to be reopened in a bid to help improve the socio-economy of the people affected by Covid-19.

Its minister, Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said the resort island was the first choice for the tourism sector because its location was concentrated and closed, thus, making it easy to control.

Apart from that, she said Langkawi, which is also the jewel of Kedah, has a population of 119,000 and is targeted to achieve herd immunity tomorrow.

“International airlines also fly to Langkawi, so it is a focused and a concentrated area for the tourism sector for those who have been fully vaccinated,” she told Bernama.

She said this after the presentation of the appointment letter and the swearing-in and taking oath of office, loyalty and secrecy ceremony by the line-up of ministers and deputy ministers at Istana Negara today.

Nancy, who is also the Batang Sadong Member of Parliament, said Motac had initially targeted September 1 for the tourism sector in Langkawi to be reopened to the public, but postponed it due to the increasing number of Covid-19 cases.

“Langkawi residents have achieved herd immunity, so they are ready but they are now asking for a postponement because Covid-19 cases have risen sharply,” she said.

She added that tourism issues needed to be addressed urgently and there was a need for new strategies in line with current challenges.

“We will set the main criteria for travelling as being vaccination.

“God willing, tourists will comply with the new standard operating procedures (SOP) for tourism. So, let’s see how the arts and culture tourism sector can help raise the socio-economy of the people,” she said. — Bernama