AFTER the Malaysian borders were closed from receiving any inbound tourists into the country for about a year now, the tourism and travel industry was severely impacted, along with many other related sectors.
For a whole agonising year, businesses related to tourism are placed in constant fear of whether the pandemic will cause them to shut their doors permanently.
Though there have been recent positive developments on the approval of the COVID-19 vaccine, it is also a known fact that the vaccines will possibly be adequately distributed and administered worldwide only at the end of 2021 and early 2022.
That in mind, the Tourism Alliance (made up from 25 associations related to the leisure, business tourism and travel sectors) is pleading for the Government to start opening the country’s borders gradually while keeping safety as a priority.
“We appreciate the initiatives that have been done to encourage domestic travel, but realistically, the success and long-term viability of travel agents, accommodation & transportation (air, land and sea) providers, events venues, retailers, attractions, theme parks and many other tourism-related businesses heavily depend on the arrivals of international visitors,” the Alliance said in a statement earlier today.
It was also shared that in 2019, inbound tourism, leisure and business travellers, brought in RM89.4 bil in revenue, which was said to contributing 15.2 % of Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP).
This means that each day Malaysia’s borders remain closed, the country stands to lose RM244 mil in potential income from foreign visitors.
“We believe that with a thorough and well-thought out standard operating procedure (SOP) and policy, allowing a small number of foreign tourists to get the ball rolling could be managed safely for all parties,” it added further.
Currently, the Alliance assured that most (if not all) hoteliers, tour operators, business events fraternities, tourism venues like theme parks and many other tourism-related players have already set in place various safety measures in adherence to the Health Ministry’s SOPs.
The Alliance is proposing Malaysia to adopt global health and safety protocols set by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), World Health Organisation (WHO), World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) & International Air Transport Association (IATA) to ensure a consistent, coordinated and aligned approach of the travel experience.
Doing so is believed to significantly reduce the risk of infection and result in a clean and safe end-to-end journey.
With that, the Tourism Alliance hopes to get an audience with the Government to present and discuss how the country can open its borders to achieve a sustainable travel environment as the host destination, its local population, and the travel economy. – Mar 1, 2021
The Tourism Alliance consists of the following 26 Associations:
- Persatuan Syarikat Pengendalian Pelancongan Bumiputera Malaysia (Bumitra)
- Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners (MAHO)
- Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA)
- Coach Association of Peninsular Malaysia (PPBPS)
- Malaysian Indian Travel Association (MITTA)
- Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH)
- Malaysia Budget Hotel Association (MYBHA)
- Malaysian Chinese Tourism Association (MCTA)
- Malaysia Inbound Chinese Association (MICA)
- Malaysia Retailers Association (MRA)
- Malaysian Food & Beverage Executives Association (MFBEA)
- Malaysian Association of Amusement Theme park & Family Attractions (MAATFA)
- Malaysian Tourist Guides Council (MTGC)
- Malaysian Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers (MACEOS)
- Malaysian Professional Culinaire Association (PCA)
- Malaysia Shopping Malls Association (PPKM)
- Malaysia Scuba Diving Association (MSDA)
- Car Rental Association of Malaysia (CRAM)
- Malaysian Bumiputra Tourist Guide Association (MBTGA)
- Persatuan Pemandu-pemandu Pelancong Pulau Pinang (PTGA)
- Persatuan Pelancongan Negeri Melaka (MTA)
- Persatuan Pemandu Pelancong Alam Semulajadi Negeri Terengganu (TENAGA)
- The Association of Malaysian Spa
- Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) – Malaysia
- Persatuan Institut-Institut Latihan Pelancongan Malaysia (ATTIM)
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.