JOHOR BARU: Hospitality and tourism players in Iskandar Malaysia are advised to adapt and adopt changes in their business strategies in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) chief executive Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said the old ways of doing business were no longer relevant following the pandemic.
He said the global tourism sector was badly affected and expected to take between two and three years to fully recover.
“Our industry players need to focus on domestic tourism now as foreign tourists are unlikely to start packing their bags to visit Malaysia, ’’ Ismail said during an interview.
He said the longer the country’s borders remain closed, the more it would affect the financial bottom line of the hospitality and tourism sectors.
Ismail said airlines, cruise ships, travel agents, hotels, resorts and other support industries would have problems sustaining their operations.
It was reported that the country’s tourism industry was expected to begin its recovery phase in the second quarter of 2021 after being hit by an estimated RM45bil in losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The main question here is whether our players in Iskandar Malaysia are ready to capitalise on the opportunities, once the tourism industry rebounds, ’’ he said.
Ismail said the days where local and foreign tourists came by the bus load or in big groups were in the past, adding that most people would travel in smaller groups now.
He said industry players should think out of the box and start focusing on families or smaller groups, including coming up with itineraries to suit their requirements.
“Golfing, shopping and theme parks are the three main segments they could start marketing to attract domestic tourists to Iskandar Malaysia, ’’ said Ismail.
He said there were about 18 golf courses in Iskandar Malaysia with some meeting world-class standards, which could cater to golfers from all over the country.
Ismail said while the husbands were teeing off at golf courses, the wives could shop at Johor Premium Outlets in Kulai, about 26.2km from Johor Baru, offering off-season designer fashion apparel at discounted prices.
“We have several theme parks for children to spend their time at while their parents are golfing and shopping, ’’ he said, adding that industry players and tourists must adopt new norms, including practising social distancing and wearing face masks in public places.
Ismail said Irda hoped domestic tourists would spend more time in Iskandar Malaysia, adding that hotels and travel agents should offer attractive packages that would suit their needs.
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