JOHOR BARU: The Johor government is urged to revamp the tourism industry and follow the new normal guidelines set by the Federal Government to expedite its recovery.
Johor Tourist Guide Association chairman Jimmy Leong said the post-Covid-19 period was the perfect time for the government to get rid of all illegal tourism operators and focus on clean and safe tourism practices.
“The recovery plan can be conducted in phases in the domestic market.
“We focus on states that no longer have cases of infection and at the same time, practise safety measures issued by Health Ministry.
“We can highlight our tourism products that already have a good foundation and provide extra safety and precautionary measures so that we can convince people that it is safe to travel, ” he said when contacted.
He added that Johor government could start by improving the hygiene level in public places such as eateries and restrooms.
“The tourism industry that has been built up over decades collapsed due to a single crisis, and it will take a very long time to rebuild it.
“So the Federal and state governments must play a crucial role in working together with the industry players on how we can move forward once the outbreak has been fully contained, ” said Leong.
Meanwhile, Johor City and Nature Tour Guide Association (JCNTGA) chairman Abdul Rashid Narikkodan Mammod said that aside from improving the facilities, the state government could provide free soft skills classes for tour guides to improve themselves.
“We must upgrade our human capital in the tourism sector, as well as our customer service.
“We need to send tour guides to language classes, soft skills courses and any programme that can help produce better service to tourists, ” he said.
He added that the government should also work closely with the tourism associations and provide aid directly to them so that it could help the industry players recover faster.
One way to stimulate demand is for the tourism industry players to introduce special promotions for the local market, said Abdul Rashid.
“If the government provides safety guidelines and convinces people that it is safe to travel, then the hotels can introduce a special discounted price for locals, and theme parks can offer major discounts in order to encourage people to come out of their homes.
“We need to focus on how to improve our local industry first before we can look at the international market, provided that the country manages to overcome the Covid-19 outbreak, ” he said.