Tourism industry players welcome good news

PETALING JAYA: The shorter Covid-19 quarantine period will be a sandbox for preparing Malaysia when it finally reopens its borders, say tourism industry players.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said shortening the quarantine period was a good move.

“Moving forward, it is positive news for domestic tourism, ” he said, referring to the movement of local tourists between the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak.

Tan added that the new quarantine policy would also encourage foreign travellers to visit Malaysia when the borders reopen.

He also said that MATTA was in favour of the review for requirements in the quarantine policies and Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.

“A negative PCR test from the traveller’s country of origin will suffice.

“Upon arrival in Malaysia, another appropriate test like the Rapid Test Kit Antigen and adherence to tracking and stringent standard operating procedure would suffice, ” he said, adding that strict quarantine policies would deter visitor arrivals in Malaysia.

The Malaysian Tourism Council president and Malaysian Inbound Tourism chief executive Uzaidi Udanis said as people were still very cautious of venturing out, the shorter quarantine period was a good step to create the perception that it was safer out there.

“This time of the year is usually a very busy time for tourism, with holidays and bonuses being paid out. But now, trust is at a deficit as people are still cautious.

“With the shorter quarantine period, it’s about time we created the perception that it is safe to venture out.

“As our international borders have yet to re-open, this will test the markets between East and West Malaysia when inbound tourists cross local borders.

“This will then prove to be the sandbox where we eventually open up our international borders for foreign tourists, as we cannot remain closed forever, ” he said.

Uzaidi added that while it was a very welcome announcement, all measures must still be taken as the battle against Covid-19 was far from over.

Malaysian Association of Hotels chief executive officer Yap Lip Seng said industry players must take full advantage of the shorter quarantine period.

“While the government had not announced a full reopening of borders for leisure travel, the shorter quarantine period also needs to be reciprocal for the best effect for tourism.

“This means that the period of quarantine should also be shortened at the travellers’ country of origin upon return.

“The mandatory quarantine order has not only discouraged people from travelling, but has also caused much inconvenience in travel planning as well as increasing the total cost of travelling.

“The industry hopes for more relaxation of travel restrictions, including establishing international green travel bubbles, ” said Yap.