JOHOR BARU: Tourism players and hoteliers are hoping the Federal Government’s move to reopen inter-state and inter-district travel will help bring about a gradual revival of the industry here.
Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Johor chapter secretary Yvonne Loh said that while the announcement’s effect may not be felt immediately, it bodes well for the local hoteliers for the new year.
“Some bookings for December had already been cancelled when the conditional movement control order was announced here.
“For now, we have yet to see the announcement bring positive returns as it is a recent development. We will have to see how things work out in the weeks to come, ” she said.
She added that she expected an increase in the number of people travelling, especially within the state.
“It may take a while longer for people to travel out of state but for inter-district travel, we may be able to see bookings improving soon, ” she said.
Loh said among ongoing efforts that may help the industry recover in the long run include the Johor Tourism Safety Standard certification programme as well as the MAH ‘Clean and Safe Malaysia’ programme.
“The state initiative is currently ongoing and about 30 hotels have already been certified.
“This will be particularly helpful for hotels that were turned into quarantine centres during the pandemic to regain the public’s confidence, ” she said.
Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Johor Chapter chairman Kenny Ngi said the industry’s recovery should start kicking in by the second quarter of next year.
“Although interstate and inter-district travel is allowed, there are still areas that are under enhanced MCO where travel is restricted.
“The public is still concerned about their health and safety when travelling and are also trying to cut spending due to the current economic environment.
“It will take time for people to have the confidence to travel again, ” he said.
Meanwhile, some frequent travellers were opting to keep their vacation plans on hold despite being allowed to cross the state border.
Businessman Edward Tan, 52, said that he planned to wait for at least two weeks before proceeding with any leisure travel plans.
“We had to cancel our family vacation previously due to the conditional MCO and we have decided to wait a while longer before making any bookings this time around.
“As much as we miss travelling, our safety comes first. We also do not want to have to cancel our bookings again if any changes are announced in the next few weeks, ” he said.
Private tutor K. Pavithra, 27, said that she planned to travel to Melaka and Penang if interstate travel was still possible in January.
“When the announcement was made, I initially planned to go for a vacation with my friends at the end of the year but I later changed my mind and put the plan on hold.
“The number of Covid-19 cases is still high.
“I am also afraid that the inter-state travel may be restricted again unexpectedly after making the necessary preparations, including taking leave, ” she said.