KUCHING: The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) has estimated the losses suffered by tourism and culture industries in the country in the first half of this year to be around RM45 billion.
Its minister, Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said tourism is one of the hardest-hit economic sectors and is expected to be the last to recover.
“According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) for April 2020, the employment volume has decreased by 1.0% to 14.93 million people over the same period last year.
“Among the most affected workforce are in the services sector such as accommodation, food and beverages, arts, entertainment and recreation,” she said at an engagement with industry players, here today.
As tourism minister, Nancy said she is more concerned on how the industry players would deal with the impact of the pandemic since all tourism, arts and cultural activities came to a halt.
Thus, she said through Tourism Malaysia, they would strengthen the domestic tourism initiatives under the Cuti-Cuti Malaysia campaign and intensify public relation activities as well as social media promotions including online collaborations with corporate companies, Key Opinion Leaders or KOLs and influencers.
“We will also enhance the quality of tourism products and services by adapting to the new normal to boost the confidence of tourists to travel again, hence encouraging them to stay longer, visit more places and spend more.
“On this point, I would like to urge state and industry players from both tourism and culture sectors to ensure the services and products provided are of the highest quality especially on health safety, cleanliness and hygiene,” she said.
To assist local tourism industry players, Nancy said a matching grant known as Galakan Melancong Malaysia (Gamelan) will also be extended primarily for domestic promotion and marketing activities.
“The ministry also has introduced a Special Fund for Tourism or SFT that supports the development of the small and medium tourism entrepreneurs by offering soft loans with a minimum of RM50,000 and a maximum of RM10 million, according to the potential of the proposed project.
“This fund is managed by SME Bank,” she added. - Bernama