The famous Chenang Beach on Langkawi Island looks empty, it is the sad reality of the COVID-19 pandemic after the MCO (Movement Control Order) has taken place since 18 March.
The usually busy beach, with its water sports and leisure activities, is mostly empty, showing a reflection of Langkawi's tourism sector which was badly impacted by the outbreak, without the absence of local and foreign tourists.
Ardi Bahador, president of the Langkawi Tourist Guide Association (LTGA), told the 220 leaders who were "Tourist Ambassadors" on the island that they had lost their revenues and are thinking forward now.
"Most members of the group are full-time, professional and regular tour guides, as their income has been generated from the arrival of visitors. This is really difficult to cope with the present situation. Some tried e-hailing and did business online, but still can't cope with the increasingly challenging life, "he added.
Ardi said that members were thankful for the RM600 one-off funding for licensed tourist guides and also hoped for more funding because of the impact on the tourism industry due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
"Members have provided one-off funding, although others still are in the process. Further, we hope the State government will extend its support to tour guides, not only to Kedah-born guides but also to members of the association who have lived in Kedah for some time, "he said.
Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) chief executive officer Dr Hezri Adnan said, the COVID-19 outbreak, however, has a devastating impact on nearly all residing people not only visitors but also other economic industries.
He said Langkawi was a "green zone" as the last patient to be recovered from COVID-19 was discharged from Maliha Sultanah Hospital. However, during the MCO the tourist sector was still not able to operate.
"The tourism sector makes up 60% of the Island, so the situation has become very difficult when the tourist arrivals dropped drastically. There are about 150 tourism agencies registered with the MATTA and they are at risk of unemployment without the arrival of tourists.
"The 'beach boys' are also impacted by the fact that without the involvement of visitors they cannot produce revenue. I do not think that foreign travelers will arrive within three months in the COVID 19 situation today, but hopefully, they will maybe arrive in six months.
Hezri said LADA is now sourcing ideas from the players in the sector, to help manage the challenging situation by offering domestic tourists attractive packages.
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