In an effort to vaccinate employees in the tourism sector, a task force led by the Penang Executive Councillor's Office for Tourism and Creative Economy and a coalition of tourism associations has filed a formal request to the federal government for vaccine supplies.
The formal vaccine request was sent to the Coordinating Minister of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Khairy Jamaluddin, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, and Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, according to Raj Kumar, a task force committee member and the chairman of the Penang Malaysian Association of Hotels.
“Most, if not all, of us here (in the hotelier sector) have been waiting to be vaccinated so that we can ensure better safety and health security of our potential customers once we reopen our businesses.
“We are willing to pay for the administration fee for the vaccination process if it means allowing us to vaccinate our staff,” he said.
He hoped that hotels and other tourism-related businesses in Penang might reopen and recover from the economic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, which had been exacerbated by the prolonged statewide movement control order (MCO).
Despite Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's announcement of a RM150 billion National People's Well-Being and Economic Recovery Package (Pemulih) to boost the impacted economic sectors, Raj believes the incentives will be ineffective.
“We hope that the federal government can recognise our need to not only ensure public health and safety in hotels knowing that the staff are vaccinated, but also the need to resume our operations so that we are able to gain revenue and pay our employees and taxes,” he added.
According to the Pemulih announced on June 28, the federal government has agreed to exempt tourism tax and service tax to hotel operators until year-end, as well as providing a three-month extension of electricity bill discounts of 10 per cent from October to December for hotel and theme park operators.
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