THE state government is disbursing RM1.5mil in the form of tourism vouchers in an effort to boost the sector that has been badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Johor tourism, youth and sports committee chairman Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi said the initiative was expected to be carried out until after Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
“The vouchers are meant to spur the state tourism industry such as theme parks, homestays and hotels.
“Tourism Johor is studying the convenience and effectiveness of providing travel vouchers to tourists, ” he said.
He added that the vouchers were part of three one-off incentives for the tourism sector as announced in the state Budget 2021.
Onn Hafiz also said the state government would soon channel RM1,000 each to about 1,000 tour guides in Johor.
“The second initiative is to channel RM10,000 to about 2,000 tourism associations and tour companies, ” he elaborated.
He hopes the financial assistance will enable the recipients to promote Johor tourism products together.
It was recently reported that Johor hoped the ongoing vaccination programme in Malaysia and Singapore would lead to the reopening of borders between both countries this year.
Onn Hafiz said Johor government had made the necessary preparations and was ready to receive travellers from Singapore.
In an exclusive interview with The Star, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad said the government was expected to despatch additional Covid-19 vaccines to Johor soon to inoculate between 50,000 and 100,000 Malaysian workers so that the border with Singapore could reopen by May or June.
Reopening the border with Singapore, he said, was vital in spurring Johor’s economy.
The two land borders have been closed since March 18 last year.
Hasni said the state government had sent its proposal to Putrajaya to open up a third category for cross-border travel with Singapore.
The first two categories are the reciprocal green lane (RGL) and the periodic commuting arrangement (PCA), while the proposed third is the daily commuting arrangement (DCA).
Under the PCA, 2,000 Malaysians and Singaporeans with long-term work permits can cross the Causeway and Second Link daily.
The RGL allows 400 Malaysians and Singaporeans to travel between the two countries every week for official and business matters.
As of March 8, Singapore had vaccinated almost 400,000 people.