‘Adhere to SOP to avoid interstate travel U-turn’

JOHOR BARU: Industry players say they will do their best to uphold the standard operating procedure (SOP), as the impending opening of interstate travel will be critical to the success of the tourism sector.

Malaysian Tourist Guides Council president Jimmy Leong said the majority of Malaysians who are fully vaccinated will take the opportunity to travel once interstate travel is allowed.

“Many of us are affected psychologically and emotionally as we have been cooped up in our own homes for a long period of time.

“Some will want to visit relatives and loved ones while others will want to take a much-needed break to get some fresh air,” he said.

Leong, who is also the Johor Tourist Guides Association chairman, however, stressed that precautionary measures must not be taken lightly as the threat of Covid-19 was still present.

“If the cases go up again due to interstate travel, the government will have no choice but to reverse the decision.

“We can’t afford a U-turn on this matter,” he said.

Malaysian Association of Hotels Johor chapter chairman Ivan Teoh said: “With Covid-19 treated as endemic, we must accept that it will be a part of our lives.

“As part of the safety measures, hotels here are working together and have stocked up personal protective equipment (PPE), face shields, face masks and other protective items.”

He said the recent case in which 50 workers at a hotel in Langkawi were tested positive for Covid-19 was a reminder that we should not let our guard down.

“We are also looking at Singapore, which despite experiencing a spike in new cases, still has an operational hospitality industry,” he said, adding that there would be a learning curve to adapt to the endemic.

Meanwhile, Johor Indian Business Association president P. Sivakumar said the group was hoping to get a positive response from the National Security Council (NSC) to hold a Deepavali bazaar in the city centre soon.

He said the bazaar was usually held a month before the festive celebrations and even used to attract customers from Singapore during the pre-Covid-19 days.

“The Deepavali celebration will be held on Nov 4 this year and we have about a month to have the bazaar.

“We made the request to the Johor Baru City Council but were told to approach the NSC which will decide whether the bazaar can be held or not,” he said, adding that the group would abide by the decision made by the authorities as public safety was of the utmost priority.

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