Reopening borders: Malaysia has 'clean and safe' environment for tourists


Tourism operators say there are measures in place to keep tourists safe and healthy. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

Local tourism players are ready to welcome international tourists again when Malaysia fully opens its borders.

Much preparation has been made during the tourism downtime and operators believe they can provide improved holiday experiences to travellers from abroad.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said the tourism sector has always maintained a clean and safe environment for everyone.

“Our industry has been prioritising hygiene and care when conducting our business long before Covid-19. Covid-19 was not started or caused by tourism,” he said.

According to Tan, safety is one of the main determinant factors of tourists’ motivation to travel to a destination.According to Tan, safety is one of the main determinant factors of tourists’ motivation to travel to a destination.At the same time, Tan noted that tourism operators had stepped up their health measures, which will continue to be practised in the future.

“We will continue, as always, to do our business with due care and diligence to ensure that we will not be the cause of any Covid-19 cluster,” he assured.

According to Tan, safety is one of the main determinant factors of tourists’ motivation to travel to a destination.

This is why Matta had collaborated with other partners in the industry to implement the Travel Safe Alliance Malaysia (TSAM) programme, creating a safe end-to-end travel environment for people when they travel to Malaysia.

“TSAM is a programme where the stakeholders, such as tour operators and travel agents, are audited by an internationally recognised company in accordance with a set of health and safety protocols,” Tan explained.

During the travel downtime, airlines too have taken initiatives to improve safety procedures and processes.

“From an operational standpoint, we have extensively prepared to ensure all of our guests can travel safely, seamlessly and with peace of mind,” said AirAsia Malaysia chief executive officer Riad Asmat.

He added that facial recognition boarding system, e-boarding pass and contactless check-in procedures will enhance the airline experience for passengers.

Moving forward, stakeholders would need to inspire confidence in travellers. Tan said travel agents should create awareness and educate customers on how to travel safely.

Leong said that tour guides need to always be aware of current SOP and other guidelines, and remind tourists to adhere to them. — FilepicLeong said that tour guides need to always be aware of current SOP and other guidelines, and remind tourists to adhere to them. — FilepicThat role in inspiring travel confidence was also highlighted by Malaysia Tourist Guides Council president Jimmy Leong.

According to Leong, international tourists will be turning to local guides for guidance more than ever now.

“Tourist guides can advise and assist tourists to reschedule their tour itinerary if they find out that certain places are crowded. Guide should also constantly remind tourists of the SOP,” he said.

Leong perfectly summed up the anticipation among tourism stakeholders for the reopening of borders.

“We cannot deny that we need international tourists on our shores to restart the almost ‘near-to-death’ tourism sector. We look forward to job opportunities and greater tourist dollars to ignite the recovery in this border opening,” he concluded.

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