GEORGE TOWN: Tourism players in Penang are pinning their hopes on the third wave of Covid-19 to subside before the year-end school holidays come in December.
With Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya sealed off under the conditional movement control order (MCO), domestic tourists to Penang have trickled down to meagre numbers, and players are banking on the year-end school holidays to make up for lost ground.
Penang Hill Corporation general manager Datuk Cheok Lay Leng said they had been impacted by the conditional MCO in other parts of the country.
“For the past three weeks, we saw an 80% drop in visitors.
“Now, those coming up to Penang Hill comprise only hikers and local Penang folk.
“We hope it will pick up but the third wave seems to be spreading aggressively, ” he said.
Association of Tourism Attractions Penang chairman Ch’ng Huck Theng said he was sure Penang’s tourism sector would pick up after Covid-19 numbers go down again.
“Once the conditional MCO is lifted in the Klang Valley, I am sure we will see more tourists in Penang.
“A big chunk of our domestic tourism arrivals come from Selangor, Klang and Kuala Lumpur.
“Once the cases go down, we will see people come to Penang as it is a preferred local tourism destination, ” he said.
Escape theme park chief executive officer Sim Choo Kheng said the number of visitors to the park has dropped over the last few months.
“The tourism sector has been adversely affected.
“This is because Klang Valley is a very important source for domestic tourism.
“If this goes on, it will cause a collapse in the tourism economy, not only in Penang but nationwide.
“All the unnecessary scares in the political landscape is not helping either.
“There is a need for corrective measures to be put in place to remedy the situation. Otherwise, the tourism economy will collapse, ” he said.
It was reported by Bernama that with the majority of Penang’s domestic tourists coming from the Klang Valley, Penang’s tourism sector is hit hard.
State tourism and creative economy committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said the spike in Covid-19 cases in Malaysia had severely impacted Penang’s tourism industry, especially when domestic tourists are unable to travel due to movement restrictions.
“But we have to accept it, be patient and hope things will get better in the near future, ” he said.
Yeoh said the state government strongly believed that the state’s tourism sector would see a “V-shaped” recovery once the Covid-19 pandemic ends.
“I believe that once a vaccine for Covid-19 is found and it is safe to travel, we can expect to see a ‘V-shape’ recovery for our tourism sector, ” he said.
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