PETALING JAYA: Local tourism players are appealing to the authorities to allow interstate travel between the Klang Valley and the bordering states of Melaka and Negri Sembilan as all three places have high vaccination rates coupled with low infectivity and improving hospitalisation numbers.
MATTA chief executive officer Phua Tai Neng said interstate travel between these places – Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Selangor, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur – should be allowed to further promote domestic travel with the implementation of strict standard operating procedure and relevant safety health protocols.
“Now with more than 70% of the adult population in the country fully vaccinated together with the opening of more economic and social sectors, interstate travel between these states should be allowed with a set SOP to rebuild domestic travel and tourism in the country,” Phua said in an interview.
According to CovidNow’s latest data, as of Friday, about 77.3% of the total population in the Klang Valley were fully vaccinated, while 83.9% had already received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Both Melaka and Negri Sembilan recorded more than 50% of their total population being vaccinated, with Negri Sembilan expected to transition to Phase Four within a week.
As of Friday, the infectivity rate or R-nought for Selangor was 0.85, Melaka (0.91), Kuala Lumpur (0.81), Putrajaya (0.87) and Negri Sembilan (0.87), well below the national rate of 0.95.
The hospitalisation rate in the Klang Valley stood at 53.2%, while in Melaka and Negri Sembilan it was at 78.5% and 64.2% respectively. In Putrajaya, it was at 60.9%.
Phua added that considering that the states were not too far from Kuala Lumpur, it would be acceptable to consider reopening the borders.
Melaka Tourism Association president Madelina Kuah Wey Lee also agreed with the suggestion, as the national vaccination programme had made a remarkable achievement while the economy needed to rebound.
“Vaccines have the power to remove so much uncertainty for all of us,” she said.
She added that the association had called on industry players and tour operators to get vaccinated in order to get their business and lives back on track.
“As you know, many hotels are not fully open and some have even ceased operations but with proper SOP and control, many are waiting for the arrival of tourists.
“Again, I need to stress that all the SOPs should be observed by everyone, especially during weekends and holiday arrivals,” Kuah added.
Tourist guide Low Kian Chye said the Covid-19 pandemic had caused a lot of hardships to everyone.
“If the government doesn’t allow interstate travel, the economy will suffer and the stress level of individuals as well as the burden for businesses will increase,” he pointed out.
Tour guide and virtual tourism operator Shauki Abas said he had come up with virtual tours for both domestic and international tourists as part of preparations to reopen the sector physically.
“Since last September, I have been offering virtual tours only. The idea of these virtual tours is to give a glimpse of Melaka to tourists, with the concept of bringing Melaka to the world.
“If the government allows tourists from the Klang Valley to come, I would really welcome this news.
“We also urge other operators to adhere to the SOPs as we can’t afford another lockdown,” he said.
Shauki also urged the state government to clean up the facilities at famous tourists spots and update all the necessary things.
“Please don’t think about profit now. We should all focus on safety,” he said.