WITH Malaysia joining its other Asean neighbours of rolling out a nationwide COVID-19 vaccination campaign starting yesterday, the outlook of the overall tourism industry had begun to lean towards optimism.
Recent forecasts from the World Health Organisation (WHO) believes that the end of the fight against COVID-19 is near, with its regional director for Europe Hans Kluge saying that he believes the COVID-19 outbreak will end in early 2022.
Apart from that, the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) chief forecasted that global tourism will rebound earlier, in 3Q 2021. Echoing the prediction, Australian travel expert Graham Turner foresees that international travel would likely recommence in the second half of 2021.
Taking all that into account, local low-cost carrier AirAsia called on all members of society to participate in the vaccination programme so that the planes can begin to hit the skies once again.
In a statement, its CEO Tony Fernandes said: “Vaccines being rolled out across the globe, better education and testing, globally recognised digital health passports, veil medicines, leisure travel bubbles and contactless procedures for travel are all coming together nicely, to support an international air travel reset in the very near future.
“I urge everyone to dispel any misinformation around the vaccines, and trust the scientists and the experts. Vaccines are the answer to literally give the global tourism industry and local economies all over the world, a much-needed shot in the arm.”
Fernandes also reiterated how the aviation industry was devastated by the pandemic in wait for the borders to reopen.
He also lauds that Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) developed a blockchain-based Vaccine Management System to ensure an efficient and safe distribution of the vaccines in the country, with hopes that the target of achieving herd immunity gets a shorter time frame.
“The vaccination rollout is giving us the clearest, most tangible timeline yet as to when the pandemic will be brought under full control and life will be back to normal again, albeit with new norms.
“With a contribution of 15% to the annual gross domestic product (GDP) and 24% of total employment in the country, tourism is one of the most important economic drivers and its members should be given priority to receive the vaccination,” Fernades concluded. – Feb 25, 2021