‘Use Health DG achievement to promote Malaysia’


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 20 May 2020

PETALING JAYA: Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah’s accomplishment in managing the Covid-19 pandemic can be leveraged to promote Malaysia as a safe destination, say tourism industry players.

Speaking on “The Future of Travel, Travel Trends and Market Recovery Post Covid-19”, an online forum organised and hosted by MATTA in collaboration with Star Media Group on Monday, Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Musa Yusof (pic) said industry players should also capitalise on the fact that Dr Noor Hisham was recognised as one of the top five experts in the world in managing Covid-19.

“We must promote how safe Malaysia is, ” he said, adding that the Hari Raya festive season would serve as a good indicator on how soon the authorities would start easing movement restrictions, he said.

“If nothing happens (no sudden surge in number of cases after Hari Raya), then the government can ease later on.

“That’s why it is important for Malaysians to take care of each other (to break the chain of transmission), ” he said, stressing the importance of observing social distancing and good hygiene practices.

Musa added that as far as international travel goes, traffic could be expected in December.

Meanwhile, he said focus should be on domestic tourism, and collaboration with neighbouring countries to promote local and regional packages.

“But travelers need assurance that stringent measures are in place to assure health and safety, ” he said.

Musa noted that even as Europe had started reopening borders, movements were restricted to neighbouring countries for now.

He said industry players must embrace information communications technology for marketing and promotion as part of the new or next normal.

To this end, Tourism Malaysia is expecting its e-roadshow to attract 1,000 participants from various countries.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said the industry was hard hit by Covid-19.

“If we don’t die of Covid-19, we’ll die of mental anguish and undernourishment as many countries are driven to poverty, ” he said.

Malaysia Association of Hotels acting president Mohamad Halim Merican said guests would appreciate a bottle of hand sanitiser as gift now, compared to a bottle of wine.

“These are new norms shaping the sector, ” he said.

“Ultraviolet lamps and air purifiers are now part of hotel decoration, not flowers, ” he said.

Halim added guests now prefer to stay in hotels rather than homestays as well as food & bed joints as they can be assured of high levels of safety and sanitation.

He also called upon hotel operators to update their websites to keep visitors informed on new policies in place to assure safety.

Moderator Nigel Wong, MATTA’s honorary secretary, said the forum was aimed at highlighting the new norms and measures that need to be taken to address the changes shaping the industry.

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