Thirteen hotels in Johor have ceased operations amid the spread of COVID-19 in Malaysia this year, the state’s Tourism, Youth and Sports Committee chairman Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi said on Tuesday (Dec 1).
He said the closure of the Malaysia-Singapore border and the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) since March 18 has caused the average occupancy rate in Johor hotels to decline to 27.66 per cent in August this year, compared to 57.3 per cent in 2019.
He said the situation also caused tourist guides in the state to lose their sources of income and the number of visitors at theme parks and shopping malls to dwindle.
"The state government is aware of the importance of opening the Malaysia-Singapore border, especially for the tourism sector. Hence the Menteri Besar has brought this matter to Putrajaya every week, not only in the National Security Council meeting, but also to the National Economic Action Council (NEAC).
"Nevertheless, we take note that for this border opening move to be successful, it needs two important things, namely, understanding and agreement between the state government, the federal government and Singapore, besides taking into account health and safety factors where the number of Covid-19 cases should be low in both countries," said Onn Hafiz.
Onn Hafiz said the Johor government had provided several initiatives to ensure that the state tourism sector is able to survive and to enable it to remain viable in the future.
These initiatives include providing a one-off contribution of RM1,000 to registered tourist guides and the exemption of payment for business licenses and entertainment duties under the Ihsan Johor Economic Stimulus Package 2020 to assist tourism industry players, he added.
He said apart from that, engagement sessions have been held with industry players and efforts have also been made to introduce the Johor Majestic Programme, establish the Iskandar Puteri Tourism Action Council and the Johor Medical Tourism Committee.
"For next year, the state government will implement initiatives such as reviewing the Johor State Tourism Master Plan 2014-2023 to ensure that the direction of the tourism sector can be planned in a more organised manner and in line with current trends; developing the Johor Tourism Interchange (JTI) to transform the digital tourism economy; and providing tourism vouchers amounting to RM1.5 million for selected tourist accommodations and shopping centres," he added.
He said RM5 million was also allocated to develop and upgrade tourism infrastructure in the state.
- TAGS / KEYWORDS: