Tourism Ministry vows domestic industry revival with ‘travel bubble’ after over 200 hotel, operators closed shop

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur November 23, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur November 23, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) said today it has launched the “green travel bubble” to revive the domestic tourism industry amid Covid-19 pandemic after tourism and hotel operators were badly affected since March this year.

Motac minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri told the media in a press conference that the government has set three main objectives for the “green travel bubble” as part of the “quick win strategies” to assist the tourism sector revival.

“This is in line with the purpose of Motac, under the tourism recovery plan, which covers three main objectives.”

“First is to restore the people’s confidence to travel again, second is to revive the domestic tourism industry and finally to maximise the available resources,” the minister told in a press briefing.

Earlier this morning, the minister told the Parliament that a total of 204 tourism and hotel operators were forced to close down their businesses as a result of the impact of Covid-19 pandemic.

She added that based on the data shown by the Companies Commission of Malaysia, a total of 109 entities in hotel sectors and 95 tourism agencies were unable to continue their operation.

“Thirty-two out of 109 entities from the hotel sector and 38 out of 95 tourism agencies were ordered to close by the courts or they closed voluntarily,” she told the Dewan Rakyat earlier this morning.

Nancy added that the ministry set up programmes which involve partnerships and collaborations with various tourism industry players to revive the domestic tourism industry.

She said that the government will form a partnership with Malaysian Association of Hotels and e-market platforms to promote holiday and hotel packages to increase hotel occupancy especially in city centres that was taken aback since the movement control order (MCO).

“The ministry will collaborate with Malaysia Budget Hotel Association to assist selected budget hotels (three stars and below) across the country with emphasis on premises which are registered with Motac through ‘Jom Nginap’ and ‘Malaysia Welcomes You’ campaigns,” she added.

Furthermore, a “Cuti-Cuti Malaysia” campaign will be empowered by airline companies such as Malaysia Airlines Berhad, Firefly, AirAsia and Malindo Air to increase connectivity to holiday destinations in the country to encourage domestic tourism.

She also said that Tourism Malaysia will collaborate with industry players in the service and transportation segments, as well as private sectors such as service provider Prasarana Bhd to induce demand for public transport services for domestic travellers.

The government will also work with Karyaneka to offer discounts on craft products to boost sales and drive up demand for Malaysian craft.

On November 20, Putrajaya announced that the “green travel bubble” has been approved in order to boost the tourism sector.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri said that travel for domestic tourism will be allowed within and between states designated as Covid-19 green zones.

However, the minister reminded that domestic travellers from green zones must apply for permits from the police in order to cross a red zone.

Starting from yesterday, Pahang, Perlis, Terengganu and Melaka have lifted its conditional movement control order (CMCO) status along with most of Kedah, Johor and Sarawak after recording a flat number of new positive cases recently.

Nevertheless, Kelantan, Selangor, Penang, Perak, Negri Sembilan and Sabah, as well as all federal territories (Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Labuan) will still observe CMCO.

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