Inter-district travel alone is not enough to support Malaysia’s tourism industry
While the easing of travel restrictions have allowed inter-district travel to all Malaysian states except Sabah since March 5, the ongoing nationwide ban on interstate travel continues to wreak havoc. in the tourism industry.
The impact is particularly dire on tourism businesses that depend on domestic travelers from the capital, Kuala Lumpur, and densely populated states such as Selangor and Johor; as well as travel between eastern and western Malaysia.
Malaysian Hotel Owners Association vice president Robert Chong said hotels and resorts would likely not benefit from inter-district travel because the concept is less appealing to domestic travelers. âObviously, local people living in Langkawi or Port Dickson will not go on vacation or stay at resorts in the district or state in which they reside,â he added.
He said that while Tourism Malaysia and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture launched a program to promote domestic tourism last year by granting discount vouchers for hotel stays, it is unfortunate that ‘they cannot be used at this time due to the ban on interstate travel. .
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Hotel Association has proposed to the government to create domestic travel bubbles, using Langkawi as a pilot test destination; before the resumption of interstate travel.
Eugene Das, president of the Malaysian Association of Kedah and Perlis Hotels, said travel bubbles could form between Langkawi and the green areas.
âLangkawi has always been a popular destination for domestic and international tourists, and it proved to be a safe destination when domestic tourism was allowed in June and December of last year,â he said. He added that a travel bubble would also benefit airlines, retail outlets, restaurants and local car rentals on the island.
Stressing the need to restart interstate travel, he said, âWe need to reopen. Industry cannot wait forever and suffer losses all the time. (A travel bubble) is safe, controlled and easily monitored. “