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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Malaysia’s tourism recovery stumbles as Thailand, Vietnam cash in | Tourism

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – For Arthur Wilkinson, a Penang-born entrepreneur who opened Malaysia’s first flotation therapy centre on his tropical island home, nearly two years without tourists marked the end of the road.

Float For Health, located in Tanjung Tokong, a coastal township on the northeastern side of Penang island, shut up shop for good in January 2021 as border restrictions introduced to keep out COVID-19 reduced customers to a trickle.

“Eighty percent of my customers were tourists, and at that time, anyone working in this industry suffered for obvious reasons,” Wilkinson, who also runs the restaurant Heap Seng at 29 in George Town, told Al Jazeera.

Malaysia reopened its borders to tourists in April, before dropping all vaccination and PCR-test requirements in August.

But nearly a year since hailing the return of international visitors, Malaysia’s tourism sector is…

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