Restarting domestic tourism will help revive economy, says Tourism Minister

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The government’s announcement that the domestic tourism sector can resume operations starting June 10 will help the country accelerate its economic recovery phase.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, in a statement on Sunday (June 7), said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's announcement was in line with the country's economic recovery phase with no more restrictions on inter-state travel.

"The move is timely as the tourism sector can help the country accelerate the economic recovery phase.

"This is because the tourism sector involves other sub-sectors of the economy such as hospitality (hotels and other types of tourist accommodation), transport, restaurant operators and tourist guides.

"However, at the same time, these activities need to be carried out with utmost responsibility while practising the new normal and strictly adhering to all standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the National Security Council and the Ministry of Health, ” she said.

In a special message broadcast live on local television channels today, Muhyiddin announced that domestic tourism activities would be allowed to resume but said the country's borders were still closed.

Malaysian Association of Tour Agency (Mata) president Datuk Mohd Khalid Harun, in welcoming the move, said it would increase consumer demand, especially in the transport and food sectors, while helping small and medium-sized industry operators who had been adversely affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Meanwhile, Langkawi Tourism Association (LTA) chief executive officer Zainudin Kadir said the announcement that restrictions to interstate travel would be lifted once the recovery movement control order (MCO) came into effect, gave hope to the tourism industry players whose livelihoods had been adversely affected by the pandemic.

He said Langkawi ready to receive visitors by complying with the SOPs set under the recovery MCO.

"Tourism operators are pleased with the announcement, as it gives a glimmer of hope for the successful recovery of the travel industry, along with the fact that almost all hotels in Langkawi are offering attractive packages to tourists, ” he said.

Elsewhere, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Tourist Bus Association (Baspel) president Noraizam Abdul Kadir said that strict SOP must be emphasised to regain the confidence of the traveling public especially when it comes to vehicles carrying large number of passengers.

"For a start, our recommendation to bus operators is for them to set bus load quota as a measure to keep travellers safe (social distancing) while keeping their vehicles clean when embarking on a journey, ” he said. – Bernama

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