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Another Covid-19 wave will bankrupt tourism sector

30 Jun 2020 / 09:07 H.

GEORGE TOWN: Another wave of the Covid-19 virus would cause the tourism industry to plummet into bankruptcy, says Association of Tourism Attractions Penang (ATTAP) chairman Ch’ng Huck Theng.

Thus., Ch’ng said, all tourism service providers must take measures to adhere to the standard operating procedures when admitting tourists into their premises.

It includes investing in high-end disinfection technology and imposing additional preventive measures although there are signs that the Health Ministry is easing up on the requirements during the recovery movement control order (RMCO) stage, Ch’ng said.

He said although operating costs may be higher, tourism players must invest time, money and effort to ensure that hygiene is upkept at all times.

“If we become complacent, the virus may strike again. We cannot afford to have another outbreak,“ he said after launching the reactivation of Penang’s tourism scene.

Pending an outright vaccine to Covid-19, Ch’ng said the best measure that the travel trade industry can undertake is through effective mitigation.

As for the cumbersome process of having temperatures and records taken, Ch’ng said tourists need to be patient as it is for their safety and security.

Travel is a major contributor to the growth of the state, contributing about 6% to the gross domestic product and in 2018 five million visitors were recorded in the state. Each spent an average of RM1,800 during their visits.

State executive councillor in charge of tourism, Yeoh Soon Hin, together with Global Tourism Sdn Bhd, also unveiled a new portal called penangtraveldeals.com

The portal is a one-stop referral centre for everything related to tourism.

Yeoh said the state will work closely with the private sector to rejuvenate the industry in view of its importance to the economy.

Penang is considered a prime location for leisure and business travel owing to its diverse attractions from nature to beaches to street food; boutique accommodation, heritage, shopping and hills.

Penang chapter of the Malaysian Association of Hotels chairman Khoo Boo Lim said there are signs that tourism is picking up in view of the better occupancy averages but cautioned hoteliers from expecting too much too fast.

Khoo said it will take time to recover, especially for the owners and operators who had decided to close longer than usual.

In Langkawi, the island’s businesses association deputy president Datuk Issac Alexander spoke of the need for a continuous marketing campaign, while at the same time to introduce new products to entice tourists.

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