MATTA has urged the government to review restrictions on travel in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. Its president Tan Kok Liang said the tourism industry, which employs over 3.5 million people, cannot recover as long as there were restrictions on travel.
Tan said “We are confident of selling the country again. What we need to do now is give people the confidence that it is safe to travel. Covid-19 is here to stay for a while until a vaccine is found,”.
He said that in China, domestic travel was allowed again and the industry had shown encouraging signs of recovery over the May Day holiday with 115 million trips made following weeks of Covid-19 lockdown.
“Tourism dies without connectivity, whether it is domestic tourism or foreigners coming in. Now we can’t sell anything because of travel restrictions,” he said, adding that overseas inquiries were coming in.
He urged the government to introduce special certification for places that complied with health and safety requirements to boost the confidence of travellers.
“The bottom line is that the market will drive tourism if we allow it. We must trust people to look after their own health and trust the authorities’ capabilities to manage the situation. As long as policies are not conducive, no amount of promotions or gimmicks can help the industry.”
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