Thais hoping Malaysian authorities will allow entry for tour buses

KOTA BARU: Thai authorities are hoping that the Malaysian government will consider allowing its tour buses to enter the country as it will help boost the tourism sectors of both countries.

Sungai Golok Deputy Mayor Che Rosdi Che Omar said at the moment, the government was only allowing Thai tour vans to enter.

He added that there was no such ban on Malaysian tour bus operators in Thailand.

"Thai tour buses are not allowed to enter Malaysia via any entry points bordering the country with Malaysia include via Kelantan's three checkpoints.

"The rules were imposed starting a few years ago but our tour van operators were allowed to cross over to Malaysia to send tourists.

"However, we in Thailand do not impose a ban on tour buses coming from Malaysia and they can travel anywhere in Thailand, (as long as) the operators ensure they have all the documents required by the Thai authorities like those of Thai Customs," he told the New Straits Times.

Che Rosdi said allowing Thai tour buses to enter Malaysia would help boost the tourism industry in the country especially Kelantan.

"We know that Kelantan is organising Visit Kelantan Year 2024 (VKY) and many Thais are so excited to go to the state to join the many programmes lined up in conjunction with VKY 2024.

"Their visits are also good as it will help the Kelantan government in its promotions," he said.

Meanwhile, a Thai tour bus operator who only wanted to be known as Sufian said allowing tour buses from Thailand to enter Malaysia was a good idea.

"Apart from helping to promote the tourism sectors in both countries, it will also boost our income," said the 32-year-old from Narathiwat.

It was reported that tour buses from Thailand have been prohibited from bringing tourists into Kelantan via the state's three entry points, according to Kelantan Road Transport Department (RTD) director Mohd Misuari Abdullah.

Misuari had clarified that only Malaysian tourist operators are permitted to operate within the country, and vehicles from other countries, despite possessing International Circulation Permits (ICP), are not allowed to transport tourists into Malaysia.

"While they (foreign operators) may possess an ICP, this permit is only valid for private vehicles and not for commercial tourism purposes," he said.

Misuari explained that these regulations came into effect on June 1, 2022, following the end of the Covid-19 Movement Control Order (MCO).

The government initially permitted only private vehicles to enter Kelantan and other border states after the Malaysia Immigration Department reopened the country's border with Thailand.

Misuari's comments came in response to a statement by Kelantan Tourism, Culture, Arts, and Heritage Committee chairman, Datuk Kamarudin Md Nor, who announced that the Kelantan government was planning to meet with the transport minister to address the issue.

Kamarudin had siad the state government has already submitted a letter to the ministry and is awaiting a response.

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