ALLOWING interstate travel to revive domestic tourism will soon be discussed by the government, says Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri
The Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister said her ministry had listed several spots, including Genting Highlands, Cameron Highlands and Fraser Hills, as among destinations which could draw tourists back once interstate travel was allowed.
“InsyaAllah, we will be discussing within the next two or three days to allow interstate travels,” she said in reply to a supplementary question from Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (Independent-Muar) during Question Time.
Syed Saddiq had asked the ministry whether the pilot travel bubble project implemented in Langkawi would be expanded.
Langkawi recently opened to fully vaccinated domestic travellers.
Nancy noted since tourism was all about mobility, once it was allowed, the national economy would improve.
“And that is exactly what we want. Our agenda is to help those in the tourism sector who have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.
Asked about the ministry’s long- term plan to allow international tourists to return to the country, Nancy said the ministry had already come up with its plan on the matter.
“That is why we chose Langkawi Island.
“Firstly, it has a huge population.
“Secondly, Langkawi has its own international airport which allows international flights,” she explained.
She added that discussions had been held not only at her ministry but also with other agencies on the issue.
“Once Langkawi becomes a successful project, we will allow interstate travel,” she said, adding many states had transitioned to Phase Four of the National Recovery Plan.
“So I agree, if we only depend on domestic tourism, it will not be sustainable,” she said.
Earlier, she revealed the estimated losses incurred from tourism revenues in 2020 stood at RM135bil.
“The number is expected to rise this year especially due to the implementation of the current movement control order which is still ongoing,” she said.