The pandemic outbreak came as an immense shock to the world, with flights being cancelled and events being shelved, the brakes were pulled hard for the travel industry to put on a full stop. For Malaysia, as things are mostly under control and gradually recovering, there’s a ray of hope to revitalise the tourism industry to its original glory.
According to Tourism Malaysia, the next step for Malaysia is to have “travel bubbles” with Covid-19 green zones – a move that will allow two-way traffic for tourists between Malaysia and other safe destinations. Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Musa Yusof said it is expected to start with Malaysia’s neighbouring countries.
“It might still be a long road ahead of us, as international borders are still closed, but we are beyond grateful for our beloved Malaysians in reviving domestic tourism. Looking at the public’s enthusiasm, I believe we will be able to reach the light at the end of the tunnel eventually”.
“Our next strategy is stimulating cross-border tourism, where we welcome international arrivals from short-haul markets like Asean countries through ‘travel bubbles’, ” he added.
Previously, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Nancy Shukri had said in reports that such travel bubbles would really help to operate specific flights in certain locations which are green zones or have zero active cases. With this move, travellers could be allowed to and from these destinations to boost tourism.
To prepare for such travel bubbles, Tourism Malaysia, as the ministry’s marketing arm, will tap into online travel agents to promote travel voucher packages. Such packages will predominantly target young travellers, free independent travellers as well as the Muslim tourist segment.
“We are also encouraged by the recent agreement between Malaysia and Singapore to implement the Reciprocal Green Lane and Periodic Commuting Arrangement, ” Musa says.
Malaysia has plenty to do while waiting for the borders to completely open up for other countries, though. The cross-border travel between Malaysia and Singapore on the Causeway will also be allowed from Aug 17 for official, business and work purposes only.
With the pandemic dealing a serious blow to tourism, Tourism Malaysia developed its own remedy – the Recovery Strategy and Action Plan – to aid the industry. One of the strategies under the plan is to restore confidence in travelling, assuring the public that Malaysia is now safe to travel, says Musa.
“This is done through various actions and initiatives including implementing standard operating procedures (SOPs) that have been set by the authorities and disseminating the latest updates through our official website and social media platforms, ” he explains.
“Not only that, stepping up in providing the best hygiene and safety is also vital to entice travellers and gain their confidence.
“For example, the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) has recently launched its first hygiene and safety label called “Clean and Safe Malaysia”.
“It is a certification programme designed specifically for hotels and resorts to comply with both local regulatory requirements and international standards, ” Musa highlights.
Tourism Malaysia also plans to maximise resources through collaborations, including ministries, agencies, and state governments to amplify promotions of niche products like golf, homestays, cycling, angling, and diving.
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