Lifestyle

Covid-19: Malaysia’s tourism players still pack a healthy dosage of enthusiasm

Shaira Idris
Written by Shaira Idris

KUALA LUMPUR – May 21, 2020: While the Covid-91 pandemic has left the tourism industry hanging by a thread — all hope is not lost, says the Malaysian Tourism Council (MTC).

MTC president Uzaidi Udanis insists that local industry players still remain optimistic as they stand tall and will stop at nothing to restore the tourism sector to its former glory.

“Even though our tourism industry has collapsed, we still want to keep on promoting Malaysia because of our patience…

“I have been privileged as the president (of MTC) to communicate with thousands of industry players during the MCO (movement control order)… I can see that a lot of us are very resilient and stubborn because we believe in our industry,” he told The Mole.

Tourism is the third biggest contributor to Malaysia’s total gross domestic product, after manufacturing and commodities, at 13.3 per cent in 2018.

According to Uzaidi, industry players are focusing much attention on “reinventing” local ecotourism in an effort to strengthen the industry.

He revealed that, unfortunately, many adventure tourism agencies have not been given a proper license to run their businesses.

“Adventure tourism is one of our core markets. Malaysia is very well-known for our ecotourism and our adventurous attractions…

“These adventure players, where are they standing now? They’re just running here and there, trying to get license from the local council. We have to reinvent the products and make sure all the players are being licensed,” he explained.

Aside from ecotourism, the industry players are also set on shaping up the local wellness and spa businesses that are currently at their wit’s end.

“Wellness and spa are very important for Malaysian tourism. We have thousands of spa operators who are micro players and they are at a loss. They don’t know what to do next because they have no customers…

“We’ve recently set up the SOP (standard operating procedure) for these businesses and had it submitted to the government. We hope the SOP will reduce the risk of infection of Covid-19,” said Uzaidi.

Uzaidi said he has also been urging hotel and lodging company operators to revise their offers to fit the current circumstances.

“I’d like to encourage our players to pivot their businesses a little. Hotels should give discounts, not just 30 per cent but a very generous one, so that we’ll be able to plan our future travels more economically,” he said.

“I have a friend who runs a homestay. He is offering an accommodation that includes food at RM290 for three days and two nights for 10 people… 

“This offer in particular also allows lodgers to stay at the homestay until next year. As a result, this homestay operator has earned approximately RM50,000 during the MCO period,” he said.

“I’m trying to get our industry players to put out offers and packages like this because this amount of money can be used to support cash flow and staff maintenance,” he added.

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Shaira Idris

Shaira Idris

Shaira is a 20-something accidental journalist who's currently still adapting to the world of journalism and learning the ropes of her job.