Yeoh Soon Hin, the state exco of Penang, has asked Putrajaya to include tourism players in Penang as economic frontliners in the rollout of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.
The chairman of the tourism and creative economy committee said he compiled a list of 4,678 tourism frontliners in Penang through tourism associations and submitted it to the Nation.
He said that tourism players should be considered because they have been adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the industry will have to compete with neighbouring destinations in the future.
“To ensure the hospitality industry remains viable and sustainable, as well as to help achieve herd immunity against Covid-19, the federal government can place the hospitality industry frontliners for vaccination, after medical frontliners, the elderly, and other high risk and vulnerable groups,” he said.
He adds that other major tourist spots, like as Phuket and the Maldives, are already looking into the potential of inviting visitors, and that Penang should be following suit in preparation for reopening.
He stated that the tourism industry must begin preparing now in order to achieve a V-shaped recovery.
“A delayed vaccination programme for tourism players will threaten their future livelihoods and the industry as a whole, especially Penang which is heavily reliant on tourism as one of its economic contributors,” he said.
When the country's borders are reopened, he says, an effective vaccination strategy involving tourism frontline workers would ensure that they are ready and safe to officially welcome tourists back to Penang.
Penang will be positioned as a 3R destination for ready, responsible, and reliable, he said, with fully vaccinated tourist frontliners, gaining travellers' trust to come here for their vacations.
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