THE Covid-19 pandemic has badly impacted the health and economy of Malaysia and the rest of the world over the past seven months. Among the industries most affected by the pandemic as countries around the world took action, some by going into complete lockdown, to control its spread is travel and tourism.
In Malaysia, we have entered the recovery movement control order (MCO) phase, and there are certain positive developments that would help the travel and tourism industry to recover.
With interstate travel now permitted, Malaysians are doing their part to support domestic tourism by taking “Cuti-Cuti Malaysia” holidays. While this is a good sign for the industry, health and safety must also be prioritised while Covid-19 is still in our midst.
There are two important areas we have to pay attention to in order to avoid being infected with Covid-19 – our immune system (keep it strong by maintaining a healthy lifestyle) and the preventive measures to take against a viral load, such as social distancing, proper hand washing and wearing a face mask in public areas.
Now that the government is in talks to slowly open up our borders, it is very important for the various stakeholders in the travel and hospitality industry to balance the needs of their businesses with the health and security of the country by controlling the volume of customers and also taking all the necessary precautions.
Another important thing is getting information from the right sources. For the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important to refer to the Health Ministry and World Health Organisation. Getting information from the wrong sources can lead to more anxiety and fear.
The same goes for the travel and tourism industry. As more people get ready to travel again, among the best sources of information are global protocols from the World Travel and Tourism Council and also Airbnb, which has just launched its Enhanced Clean Programme. Endorsed by the Malaysian Medical Association, the programme offers guidelines on the necessary measures that need to be taken to prevent infection. We do not want a second wave of Covid-19 to occur here as has happened in some parts of China and South Korea.
I believe all the stakeholders involved, including operators of hotels and short-term accommodation, will do their best to be responsible and take the necessary precautions.
DR RAJBANS SINGH
Malaysian Wellness Society
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