KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 — China’s suspension of outgoing tour groups due to the novel coronavirus outbreak will hit Malaysia hard, Malaysian Association of Tour and travel Agents (Matta) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said.
He told the New Straits Times that China’s measures over novel coronavirus there will affect the tourism industry here.
“Matta hopes that the situation is contained and that it will only last for a short period.
“Otherwise, the repercussion will be severe as it will affect the tourism industry not only in Malaysia, but also globally,” he said.
He added that, as of now, inbound and outbound tourism between Malaysia and China was crippled due to the quarantine policies imposed by China.
“Malaysia holidaymakers are also cautioned from travelling to China,” said Tan.
It was reported that travel suspension was implemented following reports that the novel coronavirus has spread across China and abroad.
Bloomberg reported that China ordered travel agencies to suspend sales of domestic and international tours to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which was first detected in Wuhan last month.
The order was given by China’s Culture and Tourism Ministry, and took effect last Friday.
When asked if tourism and travel companies here have begun feeling the impact of the virus outbreak, Tan replied: “Obviously.”
While he declined to make any estimates, Tan said it is expected that the cancellation of the inbound and outbound tours by China could cause losses in the millions in tourism receipts.
He also called on operators of hotels, tours and airlines, as well as other service providers to exercise flexible cancellation policies.
It was reported that from January to September last year, China was the third biggest source of foreign tourists (2.41 million arrivals), after Indonesia (2.7 million) and Singapore (7.8 million).