The three-day World Hospitality, Lifestyle, and Entertainment Exhibition and Conference (WHOLE PENANG 2020) began on 10th September at the Setia SPICE Convention Centre in Bayan Lepas. The opening ceremony was officiated by YB Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Malaysia.
TIN Media had organised a Hybrid Forum Series During WHOLE 2020 to connect the Live & Virtual Audience to the Experts Panel of Speakers to discuss & share the knowledge on various topics that can help the industry players to be future-ready. The hybrid forum discussion on “Travel Re-opening: Re-strategizing International Tourism” where the panel members were Mr. Khoo Boo Lim, Chairman - Malaysia Association of Hotels (MAH) - Penang Chapter, Mr. Riaz Munshi, President - Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI), Mr. Paul Edmundus Tallo, Chairman - Indonesia Inbound Tour Operators Association (IINTOA), and Ms. Karen Chan, CEO - AirAsia.com. The discussion was moderated by Presanth Chandra - Co-Founder of TIN MEDIA.
Mr. Khoo Boo Lim, Chairman - Malaysia Association of Hotels (MAH) - Penang Chapter said “safety is our top priority and Malaysia Association of Hotels (MAH)has been following all the guidelines and SOPs to make it through. Also, most of the hotels have got the certification based on the safety measures taken respectively. Secondly, to fully re-open and re-strategize, we have to do the marketing and promotions of Penang being a safe destination and eventually is all set and ready for tourism”.
He added “The lockdown was economic lockdown for many hoteliers. Many hotels were temporarily closed and some are closed permanently which taught us a bitter lesson. Pandemic preparedness and managing finances is an important aspect. Hopefully, we’ll be prepared better for any unforeseen circumstances in the future”.
Ms. Karen Chan, CEO - AirAsia.com said “As international borders are yet to open, we’re now focussing on domestic tourism and partnering with different hotel associations. For Malaysia, AirAsia has started flying about 20 percent in July, domestically and in August it doubled up to 40 percent and for September we are almost close to 90 to 100 percent which is somewhere near to the pre-COVID statistics. Across all the ASEAN markets, there’s a lot of demand for domestic travel. Also, the fairs are 5-10 percent better than last year“.
She added “Asia is relatively in a better position and has done relatively well in keeping the pandemic in check. Most of the ASEAN countries are in the green zone and likely to be opened first. AirAsia has been working closely with government bodies, the ministry of health and tourism to co-develop, sanitize, and have contactless travel standards.
For check-in, AirAsia has implemented face-recognition. We also have pushed online web-checking along with contact-less boarding pass issuance and baggage drop. Also, We’re working with multiple labs to facilitate COVID testing once international tourism kick starts”.
Mr. Riaz Munshi, President - Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) said “now is the time we are ready to rebound. As per demand, hotels and attractions have started reopening. After lockdown, people have the urge to travel and that seems great for the tourism sector. Tourism is the backbone of the world economy and without tourism, the economy can hamper. So, it's about time that the tourism sector should reopen with precautions”.
Tourism is ready to rebound as long as every guideline and SOPs are followed, he added.
Mr. Paul Edmundus Tallo, Chairman - Indonesia Inbound Tour Operators Association (IINTOA) said “this pandemic taught us a bitter lesson. My 50 years in business made me feel that this time was for self-introspection. This is the time for a quality and responsible tourism. Nature is now healing itself which seems great for tourism.”
For more insight, you can watch the entire episode over here http://www.tin.media/whole2020
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