PUTRAJAYA, Jan 28 — The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture believes Malaysia can still achieve the tourist arrival figure of 30 million for Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020) despite the 2019 novel coronavirus woes.
Its minister, Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi said he was confident that the targeted number would be achieved as the coronavirus problem was only confined to Wuhan in China.
“The tourist arrival target is still 30 million. Many other parts of China remain unaffected and also other nations like Australia and the United Kingdom are not affected,” he said during a joint press conference after a special meeting on coronavirus-related issues at the ministry, here, today.
Mohamaddin said his ministry had many plans in conjunction with Visit Malaysia 2020 and that China was an important market.
Hence, he was still in high spirits that the VM2020 agenda could achieve its objectives.
However, Mohamaddin expressed regret over the action of not allowing tourists to enter certain popular places due to concern over the coronavirus.
He said he would be writing to the tourist hot spots not to prevent tourists from entering these places.
“Don’t stop the tourists from visiting. It is totally wrong,” he added.
The minister noted that Malaysia had enough experience in tackling various disease infections such as of Mers-Cov and because of this, “there is nothing to worry about and be afraid of”.
Besides that, he said, the Health MInistry was carrying out health screening at all the country’s entry points to ensure Malaysia only received tourists that were healthy.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said his ministry would do its level best to help ensure the success of VM2020.
“I assure that in this matter, the Health Ministry’s team had previously tackled a number of issues such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), influenza and polio,” he added.