Kedah, Penang line up super deals to attract tourists

06 Jun 2020 / 14:31 H.

GEORGE TOWN: In a move to revive the travel sector, tourism stakeholders in Penang and Kedah have lined up super bargain deals for tour packages and accommodation.

Tourism Langkawi Association president Ahmad Pishol Isahak said they have pledged to engage all stakeholders to provide a good deal for tourists, especially among domestic visitors, who will be instrumental in reviving the industry.

Ahmad Pishol expects the momentum for tourism to gradually begin once the inter-state travel ban is lifted and when tourists from certain countries with low Covid-19 infections are allowed to visit Malaysia.

“From airlines to tourism landmarks and restaurants, there is a need to offer good deals and bargain discounts to rouse the interest of all visitors,” he said.

Ahmad Pishol added he would also be speaking to Tourism Malaysia and the Langkawi Development Authority to convince all stakeholders in the private sector to come onboard the effort to offer bargain deals to visitors.

“I can’t speak enough of the battering that tourism has suffered at the hands of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is a global phenomenon but it does not mean that we must give up. To rebound the fastest, we need to entice our visitors,“ he said.

From improving services and upgrading products, Ahmad Pishol said there is also pressure to lower rates and prices of touristy items for now until the industry can recover fully in what is expected to be 12 months from now.

He said industry players were dismayed by the inability of some airlines to offer cost competitive fares now and the proposal by the ferry operators to raise their fares following an increase in costing.

Social distancing and additional measures for disinfection and the purchase of surgical masks and hand sanitisers were cited as among the reasons why ferry operators are seeking a slight fare increase.

Ahmad Pishol said it is best to hold off increasing prices until the industry regains a mass volume in inbound tourists, citing that the prices of crude oil remains relatively low because of the pandemic.

Langkawi used to average about five million tourists annually but it remains to be seen if the island resort can regain half of the number this year.

In Penang, travel agent Elaine Kang spoke of the need to offer exciting deals to attract the attention of tourists.

Penang’s forte in street food, attractions and eco-tourism can be better promoted if the operators offer good deals, she said in an interview.

She hopes that hoteliers can offer good deals to bring back the tourists.

It would be good if the state tourism authorities can conceive a package full of discounts for visitors to explore, Kang said.

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