Enhanced SOP for tourism players

Visitors to Penang often look forward to trishaw rides within the inner city of George Town. Photo taken before the movement control order (MCO) came into force on March 18.

TOURISM players in Penang can expect enhanced operating guidelines from the state to operate post Covid-19 pandemic.

State tourism, arts, culture and heritage committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said enhanced operating guidelines must be drawn up to restore the allure of Penang’s tourism sector.

He said the guidelines could serve as a blueprint to provide a clear approach for the tourism industry to operate after the pandemic period.

Penang, he said, would also submit the enhanced guidelines to Federal authorities to ensure that the industry would recover.

Yeoh said his office was working closely with industry players in line with standard operating procedure (SOP) set by Health Ministry to develop a series of guidelines and protocols relevant to tourism.

“Taking action now is of the essence so that we will be in a position to capture the timing to rebound and maximise growth when the opportunity arrives.

“The tourism sector really depends on people’s psychology and is very sensitive to safety and security.

“Regaining people’s trust to travel again after the pandemic will be a challenging task.

“In the recovery period, unlike other business sectors, tourism will take a longer time to return to normalcy because tourists need to be assured that the situation is really safe and secure before they travel again,” said Yeoh.

He said all sub-sectors, including airlines, hotels, cruise ships, tourist attractions and convention centres, must establish enhanced operating guidelines that focus on cleaning practices, ‘new normal’ social interactions and workplace protocols that meet the new health and safety challenges and expectations.

Yeoh said Penang sought to change industry norms, social behaviour and standards to ensure both tourists and stakeholders were confident in their cleanliness and safety once travel resumes.

He said in the ‘Penang Tourism Roundtable Discussion: Penang Tourism, The Next Norm’, it was agreed that there would be a need for stringent sanitisation at all tourist attractions.

He said tourism players would work with the state to deliver an adequate and desirable environment to revive tourism.

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