Nancy Shukri: No trip refunds for Covid-19-positive travellers, but deferments available

  • News
  • Thursday, 23 Sep 2021

KUALA LUMPUR: Travellers who test positive for Covid-19 need not worry about having their flights or tour packages cancelled, as it can be deferred under the same tour package, says Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri (pic).

The Tourism, Arts, and Culture Minister said while cash refunds would not be provided, hotels and travel agents registered with their respective associations have agreed to allow for the trip to be deferred.

“You can still use the same package.

“The same applies to airlines. They also allow for deferment, so you don’t lose out.

"This is what that had been informed to us,” she said during her winding-up speech for her ministry on the motion of thanks to the Royal Address in Parliament on Thursday (Sept 23).

She was responding to a question from Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik (Balik Pulau-PH) on the government’s efforts to change its strategy to cater to the changes in travel behaviour during the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said the ministry had also set new standard operating procedures (SOP), including taking Covid-19 swab tests prior to travelling.

"These are among the new SOP for our safety and health purposes," she added.

Earlier, Bakhtiar had said that the government must switch its strategy to cater to the change in travelling behaviour, with more people now travelling in small groups, and most also making last-minute plans.

"During the pandemic, the travel behaviour has also changed. Safe travel, solo travel and family travel.

"There are no more 'rombongan cik kiah' (big tour groups)."

“This is unlike before when people would book two to three months earlier.

Now, there are so many uncertainties. For example, the five individuals who tested positive for Covid-19 recently before travelling to Langkawi.

“Will the hotels and travel agencies give them a refund? This has to be addressed when we reopen more travel bubbles,” he said.

Langkawi was opened to tourists on Sept 16, and became the first travel bubble destination in the country, as the government bids to reopen mass tourism after over a year of closure.

Travellers were not initially required to undergo Covid-19 testing, but following backlash from the public, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced on September 15 that all travellers must be screened prior to entering the island.

The government also plans to reopen more travel bubble destinations soon, including Tioman Island, Melaka, and Genting Highlands, which had been shortlisted under the programme which is set to accept tourists beginning October 1.

The government also announced that interstate travel will soon be allowed once the adult vaccination rate reaches 90%.

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