Updates on Coronavirus Outbreak: Meeting with Ministry Of Tourism, Arts And Culture & Ministry Of Health Malaysia

29 January 2020

Dear Members,

MATTA together with key industry stakeholders had discussions with the Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture (MOTAC) and the Ministry of Health (MOH) over two days and many pertinent issues ranging from situation containment and crisis management to remedies on how to mitigate losses to the industry were discussed. Industry stakeholders present included travel and tour operator associations, Malaysian airline carriers, hotel associations, the Malaysian Healthcare Tourism Council (MHTC), Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB), Tourism Malaysia, the Department of Immigration and other relevant agencies and departments under both aforementioned ministries.

Meeting Dates

  1. 27 January 2020: Meeting chaired by YB Tuan Muhammad Bakhtiar bin Wan Chik, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia
  2. 28 January 2020: Meeting jointly chaired by YB Datuk Mohamaddin bin Ketapi, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia and YB Datuk Seri Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad, Minister of Health Malaysia

Salient Meeting Points

  1. Ongoing impact report by industry stakeholders

    Travel and tour operator associations reported mass cancellations for both inbound and outbound groups to and from China. MATTA along with other travel and tour operator associations have appealed to the hotels and airlines to facilitate cancellations.

    The Malaysian Association of Hotels has already indicated that cancellations of room bookings have picked up sharply over the Chinese New Year period and that their members (both local and international brands) have expressed willingness to facilitate postponement of bookings or cancellations and refunds of payments made.

    Airlines have also reported mass cancellations. Most affected at this point in time is Malindo which flies direct to Wuhan. The Ministry of Health will look at working closely with MAHB and airlines to increase scanning and crisis management at boarding gates.

    Members are urged to contact their respective hotel and airline partners and to work out an amicable arrangement.
  2. Remedial strategies

    MATTA has suggested the following:

    - Planning for post-crisis remedial strategies which includes a marketing plan to recapture the Chinese (and other affected) traveling market segments once the various travel restrictions and advisories are lifted.
    - Retargeting of tourists using big data to capture market segments that are contemplating rerouting from China to other destinations.
    - Central point of reference to be setup by the Ministry of Health to ensure that reliable and up-to-date information is made available to trade and the public in order to allay unnecessary fears and misinformation.

For the latest updates and guideline on the coronavirus outbreak, members can refer to the Ministry of Health (MOH) website at www.moh.gov.my.

Thank you.

Chief Executive Officer