IPOH, March 25 — Eco-tourism operators in Perak admitted that they have received no booking or inquiries from foreign tourists so far, with just a week until the country’s borders reopen for international travellers starting from April 1.
Speaking to Malay Mail, the operators said they have to rely on local tourists as interstate travel was allowed back in October for all fully-vaccinated Malaysians, although they were regularly hosting foreigners prior to the pandemic hitting the hospitality industry.
Riverbug Perak White Water Rafting owner Fara Zaima Usman said the firm has not received any inquiries or booking from overseas travellers, despite the announcement on all international borders reopening.
“Pre-Covid-19 pandemic we had a lot of tourists from the United States, Japan and Singapore, but now our customers are mostly local.
“We have yet to receive any bookings from foreign tourists for now,” she told Malay Mail when contacted.
Fara suggested that this may be due to the perception that the Covid-19 threat has yet to subside.
“Some of the tourists are still afraid of the Covid-19. Hopefully, things will change in the future,” she said.
Meanwhile, a receptionist from Kledang Saiong Forest Eco Park said that hikers entering its forest are also mostly still locals.
“There has been an increase of visitors for the last three months, but they are all locals. We didn’t receive any inquiries from foreign visitors,” he said.
My Gopeng Resort Eco Adventure managing director Ooi Beng Yeaw said that they are already prepared to welcome foreign visitors.
“We are well-prepared. We don’t have issues of workers shortage and we have been in this business for more than 10 years.
“However, the bookings from overseas tourists are very limited. In fact, we only received inquiries from some Singaporeans who wanted to pay a visit to our resort,” he said.
Ooi said that among the attractions that visitors could enjoy during their stay at the resort include white water rafting, waterfall, abseiling, caving, camping, and paintball.
Similarly, houseboat owner and operator Muhamed Noraini Ali Othman, at Temenggor Lake at the Royal Belum State Park in Gerik, said there has been no bookings or inquiries from foreigners who used to frequent the lake.
“I could say there is none. Our visitors are only locals for now.
“Most of the countries are still recovering from Covid-19, so I think it will take time before the foreign tourists could come back here,” he said.
Mohamed Noraini also said that the business has been more or less the same for the past few months.
“The houseboat consists of a leisure room, bedrooms, bathroom and kitchen and visitors who stay in the houseboat usually enjoy outdoor activities such as fishing and kayaking,” he said.
On March 8, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that Malaysia will begin the process of transitioning to the endemic phase of Covid-19 on April 1.
Ismail Sabri also said that the country will reopen all its international borders on the same date.
He added that foreign travellers with recognised travel documents can enter Malaysia freely without having to apply for the MyTravel Pass, which will be abolished.
Foreign travellers who have received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine will not be required to quarantine upon arrival in Malaysia.