MCO 2.0: Tourist guides need more than RM500 assistance to sustain livelihood

More needs to be done for the tourist guide community that has been severely impacted by the pandemic. - Filepic

With borders still closed to international travellers, the government needs to provide more assistance to help tourist guides in the country sustain their livelihoods.

Malaysian Tourist Guides Council president Jimmy Leong said more needs to be done for the tourist guide community that has been severely impacted by the pandemic.

"Any gesture initiated by the government is appreciated but a one-off assistance of RM500 is certainly not enough to sustain even the basic need of any family," he told The Star.

Leong was responding to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's announcement of the "Perlindungan Ekonomi dan Rakyat Malaysia (Permai)" assistance package worth RM15bil on Monday (Jan 18).

In a special address, Muhyiddin said a one-off financial assistance of RM500 will be given to 14,000 tourist guides in the country.

"The border will not be opening too soon and the return to normal for these families (of tourist guides) will not be near," Leong said.

Leong was reiterating the comments he made in an interview with StarLifestyle last year.

"With borders closed, there is not a single international visitor coming in for vacation. Domestic travellers are restricting themselves in a ‘new norm’ by just holidaying with their family members.

“Thus the services of the licensed tourist guide are not needed,” he said.

Leong added that not all tourist guides are able to easily switch to another profession.

According to him, the most affected age group are those between 30 and 55.

"The reason is because they are rooted in the profession for many years and within this age they remain as the breadwinner to their families. The sudden cut-off in income has affected them,” he said.

As part of Permai, a special discount of 10% on electricity bills from January to March 2021 will be given to hotel operators.
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