Matta: Revival of domestic cruises can benefit ailing tourism industry

Genting Dream Cruise

ANY effort to revive domestic cruises during current trying times will be most timely given its potential to generate thousands of jobs almost immediately especially in port cities like Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Langkawi and Melaka.

Prospects of that happening is within sight given that the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) has received word from the Transport Ministry that standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the operation of domestic cruises are being actively discussed with the National Security Council (MKN).

“Matta has been working very closely with industry partners like Costa Crociere SPA, Singapore office, and the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry to kickstart domestic cruises as a way to help revive the ailing tourism sector,” commented Matta president Datuk Tan Kok Liang.

Similar cruise products have already been launched in different countries like Singapore and have been successful in providing much needed stimulus to the local economy. Domestic cruises in the UK will also resume beginning May 17.

According to Tan, Matta has long recognised the immense potential of the cruise industry which benefits not only travel agencies but also hotels, the aviation sector, theme parks, attractions, retail and many other tourism-related industries.

“A single ship like the Costa Venezia with a capacity of 5,000 passengers can generate revenue of up to RM60 mil,” added Tan.

Meanwhile, Matta’s honorary secretary-general Nigel Wong said the association has been engaging the relevant ministries for years not just on the implementation of domestic cruises as a quick-win solution during current trying times but more importantly, the benefits of getting Malaysia recognised as a home-port destination.

“We already have the necessary infrastructure and manpower in place to service this emerging and very profitable sector – the long-term benefits of having home-port status are immense especially since Malaysia is recognized worldwide as a very modern, and progressive Muslim-friendly destination,” he opined.

“Tourists from all over the globe will fly into Malaysia to embark on their cruise holiday and in the process, will very likely extend their stay in Malaysia. Needless to say, one can only imagine the untapped potential we have at our fingertips.” – March 15, 2021

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