KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 29 — The Malaysia Tourism Agency Association (MATA) has urged the government to temporarily suspend the entry of tourists from China into the country until the daily cases of COVID-19 in China decrease.

MATA president Datuk Dr Mohd Khalid Harun said the recent significant surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in China has increased the potential for new variants of the virus to emerge, thus causing concerns to Malaysians, especially tourism industry players.

“We are all aware that hospitals across China are facing explosions of COVID-19 cases following Beijing’s decision to withdraw their strict regulations.

“The trauma faced by players in the tourism industry due to the COVID-19 outbreak has yet to be resolved, in fact, many travel agencies and hotels have been closed due to the virus incurring billions of ringgit in losses in the past two years,” he said in a statement today.

Therefore, Mohd Khalid said he hoped that it would not recur as tourism industry players are still in the process of recovery.

He said that many foreign countries have tightened the entry of tourists or businessmen from China for the time being to curb the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in their countries.

He also advised industry players to shift their focus to tourists from the Middle East and Europe without relying on tourists from China for now.

Yesterday, Transport Minister Anthony Loke said Malaysia would see a surge in flight demand following the re-opening of China’s borders, which will be implemented by its government on Jan 8 after nearly three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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