State tourism development, arts, culture and heritage committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said there was no denying that Penang’s tourism industry had suffered a drop.
“Tourists from China make up 15 to 20 percent of foreign tourists arriving in Penang.
“We are coming up with short, medium and long-term plans.
“For a start, we have developed media content to illustrate how the state maintains good public hygiene to instill confidence in people.
“The short and medium-term plans focusing on attracting domestic tourism will be launched in March followed by the long-term plan to resume promotion and marketing to foreign tourists as done before the pandemic,” he said.
He was giving a press conference during the Tourism Recovery Action Committee town hall roadshow at the UAB building in China Street Ghaut on Saturday.
Yeoh said Penang was fortunate to still be getting Western and Middle Eastern tourists who make up a big share of the tourism industry, adding that their efforts would be extended to India.
Malaysian Association of Hotels Penang chapter chairman Khoo Boo Lim said 6,500 room cancellations were recorded from January to early this month.
“The numbers involving revenues of about RM3.5mil are provided by hotels participating in a survey.
“We believe more hotels have yet to declare their losses,” he said.
It was understood that tourists from China make up an average 11% market share of foreign tourists into the country.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry secretary-general Datuk Noor Zari Hamat said the Govern-ment was looking at stimulus packages for industry players.
He added that the Government would expand promotions to locals and more countries to ensure that the target of 30 million tourists and RM100bil income could be achieved under the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign
“Among our next targets are Middle East and central Asia, including India.
“In 2019, we recorded a 22% increase in tourists from India.
“At the end of this month, we will be holding roadshows in Saudi Arabia,” he said before launching the roadshow at the town hall.
The Tourism Recovery Action Committee functions to ensure the safety of tourists and plan efforts to reach new markets to replace the drop in tourists, especially those from China, due to the virus outbreak.
Noor Zari said the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) and airline companies would be organising special promotions for locals.
“At the end of March or in early April, MATTA will be organising a major event to offer promotions for locals,” he added.
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