Malaysian travel agent hopes for boost in tourism with Covid-19 vaccination roll-out


Malaysia's vaccination programme is targeting 26.5 million people. Photo: Bernama

Kuala Lumpur-based tour agent Nicky Ng, 42, has been in high spirits since Feb 21, the day Malaysia’s first batch of Covid-19 vaccines touched down at KL International Airport.

The arrival of the vaccines has given Ng hope that the pandemic will end soon and boost Malaysia’s economy, specifically in the travel and tourism industry.

“I am happy that Malaysia has finally received our first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. As our country kicks off its National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, I hope everything will go back to normal soon and that I can resume my job as a travel agent after taking the jabs," said Ng, who hopes to qualify for the vaccine in a couple of months.

Ng, who focuses mainly on overseas tours, is waiting for more details on the Covid-19 passports, travel and quarantine guidelines, and global standard operating procedures to those who have received the Covid-19 vaccine.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah were among the first to receive the Covid-19 vaccine with the start of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.While waiting for the travel and tourism industry to pick up, travel agent Ng has learned to use social media to improve her food delivery business. Photo: The Star/Samuel OngWhile waiting for the travel and tourism industry to pick up, travel agent Ng has learned to use social media to improve her food delivery business. Photo: The Star/Samuel Ong

In the first phase, Covid-19 vaccines are allocated for 300,000 medical frontliners and 200,000 non-medical frontliners, including politicians.

The second phase is expected to take place from April to August. It will include Covid-19 high-risk groups, including senior citizens and people with disabilities, involving around 9.4 million people.

The third phase from May to February next year will cover both Malaysians and non-citizens aged 18 and above, targeting more than 13.7 million people.

Ng encourages people to stay positive during the pandemic.

“Now that the vaccine has arrived, there is hope for Malaysians and we have confidence that the travel industry will bounce back again. But, it will take time. I believe Malaysia will see a huge boost in the local tourism industry by mid-2022, ” said Ng, who's worked in the industry for 24 years.

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the extension of the movement control orders and border closures. People are restricted from travelling overseas, which has caused an enormous impact on the travel industry.

Many people have also lost jobs and have had to hunt for work outside their area of expertise.

Since the first MCO last March, Ng has taken on the job of a food distributor. Her work involves promoting items on her social media platform, picking up food stuff from various home-based bakers, and distributing them to customers.

In the last 11 months, she’s distributed a range of items, from vegetables, fruits to frozen meat. Ng has also attended some online courses to equip herself for future business prospects.

“There are many social media platforms where users are taught how to further promote their business using Facebook and Instagram. It's a learning curve, but I'm willing to accept new challenges, ” said Ng, who intends to continue her delivery business until the tourism industry improves.

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Vaccination , Covid-19 , Tourism

   

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