PETALING JAYA,Nov 17: Tourism industry leaders have welcomed a proposal to allow travel between Covid-19 infection-free “green zones”, and contend that the current ban on interstate travel was a death blow to their business.
Tan Kok Liang, president of the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents, said it was “high time” the government implemented the proposal.
“Actually, after the movement control order (MCO) was lifted, we were quite optimistic but the latest conditional MCO, especially on the Klang Valley, killed our businesses.”
Tan said blanket restrictions had victimised tourism players and that the authorities must look into avoiding such policies.
“We have to learn to live with this virus, we cannot afford one-size-fits-all approaches. Now we are bleeding. We applaud this (green zone) plan and we hope the government can fast-track its implementation.”
Yesterday, Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Putrajaya was studying a proposal to allow interstate travel between green zones in states under CMCO to boost domestic tourism
The tourism, arts and culture ministry has been instructed to work with other relevant ministries and agencies to come up with a more detailed proposal.
A source in the know told FMT the government is likely to greenlight the proposal once the details are refined.
He said a number of ministers are supportive of the proposal put forward by Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Nancy Shukri.
“More in the Cabinet are becoming increasingly aware that this is the way forward as there is no telling when a vaccine will be available to the masses. As long as people cannot travel the industry cannot recover.”
Meanwhile, Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association (Mita) president Uzaidi Udanis said he is looking forward to the proposal being implemented.
“As long as entire states are treated like red zones, their economies cannot recover.
“We have to do this, everything is at a standstill now and the industry is suffering, so allowing targeted travels will help.”
Uzaidi called on industry players to strictly enforce SOPs if the proposal is implemented, saying their livelihood depended on them doing their part to prevent cases from going up.
Malaysian Association of Hotels CEO Yap Lip Seng said the proposal was welcome though the government will need to rebuild the confidence of travellers.
“At the moment, we see that market sentiment is sensitive to situational changes,” he said.