MELAKA: Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali has made a clarion call to local tourism players that standard operating procedures (SOP) must be followed, as thousands of tourists throng the historic city during the weekend.
"I was informed that Melaka has witnessed heavy traffic congestion since Friday (Dec 11) and I hope everyone, especially tourist operators, will abide by the current SOP placed by authorities," he said in an interview here on Sunday (Dec 13).
Sulaiman said the priority is on the health and safety of both the tourists and locals in view of the present Covid-19 pandemic situation.
"Melaka welcomes all of you but please abide by the SOP," he said.
Sulaiman said the overwhelming tourist arrivals this weekend is a good sign for the recovery of the local tourism industry.
"We definitely need the volume but the state can't compromise on the efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19.
"Hence, tourist operators need to work together with the state government in making Melaka safe," he added.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Melaka Chapter thanked the government for relaxing the inter-state travel.
Its chairman Goh Hock Gin said that the weekend crowd was a boon for the tourism industry after enduring weeks of hardship due to the restriction in travels.
However, he said it's still a long way for the industry to recover from the impact of Covid-19.
"We hope inter-state travel would continue to enable the industry to recover fully," he said.
Melaka Tourism Business Club (MTBC) vice-chairman Dennis Samford said the traffic bottlenecks were experienced even at recreational beachfronts of Klebang and Pengkalan Balak since Friday.
"Most luxury hotels reported brisk room occupancy rates," he added.