LABUAN, Feb 9 — The Malaysian tourism industry needs to send a clear message to the world in the wake of the ongoing 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection: Malaysia is safe to visit.
Deputy Tourism Minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik called on tourism players to bank on Malaysia’s past experiences and expertise in handling virus infections to retain the ‘feel good factor’ enjoyed by the industry by continuing to organise tourism programmes and activities, albeit with necessary preventive measures.
He said the Tourism, Arts and Culture ministry has prepared short term strategies, or ‘Quick Wins’ to help the tourism industry counter the effects of the 2019-nCoV infection.
These strategies will ensure the industry remain strong and buoyant despite having to face an unanticipated setback in the form of the novel virus, which originated in China’s Wuhan city two months ago,
While acknowledging that the coronavirus situation had impacted the global tourism industry within a short period, he said Malaysia has designed short term strategies to protect its tourism market and players.
These include boosting promotional efforts for its domestic market through the Cuti-Cuti Malaysia campaign, he added.
“For example, with programmes such as the ‘Best of Labuan Holiday Packages 2020’ being launched here tonight, many more Malaysians will be able to enjoy trips over here and help boost domestic tourism, which has always been the backbone of the country’s tourism industry,” he said when launching the tourism package here last night.
Earlier, Muhammad Bakhtiar heaped praise on Labuan’s potential as a promising and marketable tourism destination.
Despite just having a total area of 92km², he said Labuan had much to offer, particularly its nature-based and heritage attractions, adding that the off-shore financial centre will be hosting more than 100 tourism-based events this year.
Among the signature events to look forward to, he said, include the Labuan International Sea Challenge (LISC — June 26-28); Borneo Arts Festival (Sept 25 – 27); Sports Tourism Carnival (Oct 19 – 20) and Labuan Remembrance Day on Nov 8. — Bernama