Cuti-Cuti Malaysia, tourism players urge locals

PETALING JAYA: Local holidaymakers can turn to Cuti-Cuti Malaysia to help revive and boost the domestic tourism scene as international borders remain closed amid the
extension of the recovery movement control order (MCO), says the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA).

Its president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said there had been "enthusiasm" among locals to travel domestically during the recovery MCO.

"This is especially for destinations like Penang, Langkawi, Perak, Johor, Melaka and east coast islands as well as Sabah and Sarawak.

"We expect an increase in domestic tourism and are targeting the corporate sector as well as those who are used to going abroad for their holidays," he added.

Tan said MATTA would work closely with Tourism Malaysia and the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry to carry out promotions to entice Malaysians to travel locally.

He said MATTA would also be holding its travel fair online from Sept 23 to 30.

Tourism players, he noted, were currently operating based on a moral obligation to their employees and to kickstart the industry.

"We hope the government will continue to give incentives to boost the local tourism sector such as providing vouchers to subsidise domestic travel like whafs being done in
Thailand and Japan," he added.

Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association president Uzaidi Udanis said local tourism players needed to change strategies and target domestic tourists.

"Overall, the reaction of industry players is one of scepticism as some are still wondering how they can move forward without international tourists.

"This Is 4 wake up call for us to, develop new products. We need to see the trend and potential of our local tourism offerings," he said.

Uzaidi said, for example, the peninsula Forestry Department had observed a rise in the number of local tourists exploring the forests and jungles.

The department, he said, had 114 forest eco-parks and 13 forest state parks which could be developed into ecotourism and adventure tourism products.

He said some families were also willing to pay up to RM1,000 a night for a room in a local hotel.

"People think domestic tourists are not willing to spend but Malaysians are now spending their holidays in places like Port Dickson, compared to Bali or Bandung previously," he added.

Apple Vacations group managing director Datuk Seri Koh Yock Heng said it would be launching the Apple MICE Muslim packages to cater to Muslim travellers in which every
aspect, including food and accommodation, would be well taken care of so that they could enjoy their vacation with peace of mind.

"We are turning our focus on local holidaymakers with our Go Apple Cuti-Cuti campaigns by creating more in-depth domestic tour packages," he said.