KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia should be ready to welcome international tourists by early December, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri told the Dewan Rakyat today.

Although the initial plan was to reopen international borders fully by next year, she said the decision was made given that foreign tourists will be allowed to travel to Langkawi starting Nov 15 under an international tourism travel bubble pilot project.

She said Langkawi’s opening to foreign tourists would be a benchmark before tourism centres throughout the country were opened to foreign tourists.

“We will need to observe the situation in Langkawi (after foreign tourists are allowed entry to the island) before we reopen fully nationwide. However, we have been ready with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) ,“ she said.

“Despite setting the time frame to fully reopen (the country to international tourists) three months from November, perhaps we can reopen in early December. That is not my promise but we will try to work it out,“ she said in response to a supplementary question by M. Karupaiya (PH-Padang Serai) who wanted to know the timeline of the tourism sector nationwide to fully reopen to international tourists.