Incentives for tourism operators in S’gor hit by Covid-19

(From left) SGTGA chairman Perremal Maruthamuthu, SGTGA deputy chairman Ng Chau Jeun, Selangor Community Host 2019 representative Afzal Azhari, Selangor Community Host 2018 representative Tee Chee Yang, Hee, Bougainvellea Homestay operator Ruslan Ahmad, Tourism Selangor general manager Azrul Shah Mohamad, Selangor State Economic Planning Unit local authority section travel sub-section assistant director Mohd Faiz Abu Bakar and Homestay Banghuris operator Basir Wasiman.

TOURISM operators in Selangor received RM553,000 under the state’s economic recovery plan to alleviate losses suffered by them during the movement control order.

The state government handed out RM1,000 one-off special incentives to 553 tourism players during a cheque presentation event at the Bangunan Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah in Shah Alam.

Selangor tourism, environment, green technology and Orang Asli affairs committee chairman Hee Loy Sian said the RM553,000 sum would be divided among 553 recipients.

“The amount will then be subdivided to three groups comprising 486 licensed tour guides registered with Selangor Tourist Guide Association (SGTGA), 16 homestay operators licensed and registered with Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry and 51 Selangor community hosts, ” he said.

He assured that the incentive was available to tour guides registered in Selangor, even if they were not born in the state.

“Tourism industry operators in Selangor are facing booking cancellations for events, travel packages, transportation and other services related to tourism, since the pandemic started, ” said Hee.

“Some operators had to shut down their operations during the movement control order and this has affected their income.”

Based on a Tourism Selangor study, the average cash flow resistance of tourism players in the state was between one and six months, he revealed.

“Over 50% of respondents completely shut down operations because their business was deemed non-essential during the MCO, ” he added.

A research by Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) showed that the monthly occupancy rates until December 2020 was expected to be below 40%, hence hotels were operating without making a profit, he added

“This will result in many industry operators having to shut down and face the possibility of going bankrupt if this difficult period continues, ” said Hee.

He shared that the economic recovery plan also outlined a tourism assistance package where tourism vouchers worth RM2mil would be issued.

“RM200 voucher will be given to Malaysians who want to travel in Selangor, ” he said.

He also said that the second economic recovery package for the tourism sector was being finalised and expected to be launched in mid-December 2020, depending on the Covid-19 situation.

He hoped the incentives and initiatives would aid operators in reviving the tourism industry in Selangor.

“The state government through Tourism Selangor has intensified tourism promotion activities to boost the industry in Selangor.

“We are focusing on the domestic tourism market with the ‘Pusing Selangor Dulu’ (Go around Selangor first) campaign and the main focus is on ecotourism, sports, medicine, education, agrotourism and the homestay sector, ” he explained.

He said the campaign would include joint-venture programmes with hotels, tourist agencies, the media and airlines.

The campaign would be promoted via online and digital advertising initiatives as well as on billboards in Johor, Kedah, Terengganu, Melaka, Kuala Lumpur and Penang, he added.

Hee stressed that the state would be mindful of the National Security Council’s standard operating procedures amid the Covid-19 pandemic when carrying out its promotional activities.

“Integrated tourism promotions such as experimental tourism packages will be undertaken at nine districts and 12 local authorities in Selangor, ” he said.

He added that its programme “Jelajah Persona Negeri Selangor” too was aimed at capturing domestic markets such as Penang and Terengganu.

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