Johor in a favourable position to lure foreign tourists

Selling point: Mersing is the gateway to beautiful islands.

JOHOR BARU: Johor has the advantage of being more accessible to foreign tourists once Malaysia reopens its borders, in particular via the Causeway and Second Link.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Johor chapter chairman Kenny Ngi said with Singapore located just across the straits, it would help attract foreign tourists.

“Singapore is an important market for us as it is a major regional hub and gateway to this part of the world.

“With Covid-19 cases dipping in Malaysia, hopefully, the government will open up our international borders by November or December,” he said yesterday.

Ngi said the government must also expedite talks with other countries to allow their citizens to come to Malaysia.

Prior to the pandemic, he said there were many South Koreans who preferred coming to Johor Baru to play golf.

“They will fly to Senai International Airport directly from South Korea between December and February to escape the winter season back home,” he said.

With domestic travel accelerating since the interstate travel ban was lifted on Oct 11, Ngi is hopeful that the government will continue to provide assistance to tourism players.

He pointed out that there was a lack of manpower in travel agencies as many staff had quit and moved on to other fields following the imposition of the movement control order.

“The government should carry out upskilling and reskilling programmes to help those in the sector cope, especially since interstate travel has now resumed,” he said.

Ngi said the state government, through Tourism Johor, would soon introduce travel vouchers worth RM1.5mil to woo more domestic tourists to Johor.

Meanwhile, Johor Tourist Guides Association chairman Jimmy Leong said that more than half of the foreign tourists who visited Malaysia had gone through the Causeway and Second Link.

“Singapore has limited space, while Johor has many attractive and unique packages to offer, from the beautiful islands in Mersing to theme parks and its rich history and culture.

“The government should make it easier for travellers entering the country through the Causeway and Second Link,” he said.

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