JOHOR BARU: Tourism players are hopeful that things will improve for the industry as the public becomes more confident to travel after more than a month under the recovery movement control order (MCO).
They feel that while it will take time for the industry to pick up momentum, especially as international travel has yet to be reinstated for the public, they are optimistic about business prospects in the coming months.
Malaysian Tourist Guides Council president Jimmy Leong said the reopening of the domestic tourism sector and the easing of interstate travel since the recovery MCO on June 10 had allowed the industry to gradually regain its footing.
“Although the crowd is not as huge as it used to be and things are still moving rather slowly for the industry, we could see an encouraging response.
“The pace is faster than predicted, ” he said when contacted here.
Leong attributes the growth in domestic tourism to public confidence in the standard operating procedure (SOP) set by the government and industry players’ compliance to the SOP.
“When people feel safe, they are more inclined to travel and thus industry players must ensure they abide by all SOP, ” he said.
Leong said that while a majority of visitors were Johoreans, there had been an increase in the number of holidaymakers from other states.
Malaysian Association of Hotels Johor chapter secretary Yvonne Loh said the number of hotel bookings had risen since July.
“I do not think that business would be back to normal by the end of the year but it will surely see some improvement.
“We will see how things turn out during the holiday season to know how our domestic tourism is doing, ” she said, adding that people were still getting over their fear of Covid-19.
Loh also said that some hotels and resorts, especially those near the beach, were seeing good crowds on weekends.
Ter Hwa Hay, 69, who provides boat services from Pontian to Pulau Kukup, said he received an average of about 100 passengers every weekend now.
“We used to get about 800 to 1,000 passengers on the weekends and a majority of them were Singaporeans but now the number has gone down by at least 90%.
“Lately, we saw a slight increase in the number of people coming for a holiday, ” he said, adding that about 15% of his customers were from other states.
Ter expects the tourism sector to improve in the next few months, especially during the year-end school holidays.
“But it will not be back to pre-Covid-19 levels, and certainly not if the border with Singapore is yet to fully reopen by then, ” he said.
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