GEORGE TOWN, June 2 — Penang state exco Yeoh Soon Hin requested Putrajaya to include tourism players in Penang as economic frontliners in the rollout of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.
The tourism and creative economy committee chairman said he has compiled a name list of 4,678 tourism frontliners in Penang through tourism associations and submitted the list to the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin for consideration.
He said tourism players should be taken into account as they are badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the industry will have to compete with neighbouring destinations in future.
“To ensure the hospitality industry remains viable and sustainable, and to also help achieve herd immunity against Covid-19, the federal government can place the frontliners in the hospitality industry for vaccination, after medical frontliners, the elderly as well as other high risk and vulnerable groups,” he said.
He said other popular tourist destinations such as Phuket and Maldives are already exploring the possibility of welcoming tourists so Penang should also be implementing similar strategies in preparation for re-opening.
He said the tourism industry needs to start preparing now so that it can achieve a V-shape recovery.
“A delayed vaccination programme for tourism players will threaten their future livelihoods and the industry as a whole, especially Penang which is heavily reliant on tourism as one of its economic contributors,” he said.
He said an effective vaccination approach involving tourism frontliners will make sure they are ready and safe to officially welcome tourists back to Penang when the country’s borders are reopened.
He said with fully vaccinated tourism frontliners, Penang will be positioned as a 3R destination for ready, responsible and reliable and gain travellers’ faith to come here for their holidays.