MATTA: Interstate travel will boost domestic tourism

TOURISM industry players laud the government’s decision to lift the interstate and inter-district travel bans as it could help boost the sector during the year-end festive period.

The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said the association welcomes the move as it coincides with the year-end season, which is usually a boon for tourism players.

“It is a good start as we come to December festive season. The recent Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) has been demoralising due to travel restrictions.

“We do hope the Covid-19 pandemic would be further contained and we need more stability for economic activities to function as normal,” he told The Malaysian Reserve in a phone interview yesterday.

He added that more families will take up the opportunity and travel back to their hometown, as well as plan trips within the country to celebrate the upcoming Christmas and New Year.

Tan also suggested that the mandatory screening before arrival to Sabah or from Sabah to West Malaysia be removed soon to further promote travel.

Meanwhile, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri lauded the government’s decision to lift the CMCO in some areas in the country which will begin today, as announced by Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

She said the decision could indirectly revive the domestic tourism since the Domestic Travel Bubble initiative has facilitated movement covering all zones without the need for permission from the Royal Malaysia Police.

“Let us prove that we are capable of fighting Covid-19 and travel responsibly in order to redevelop the tourism economy that has been through enormous challenges this year,” she said in a statement yesterday.

However, movement in and out of areas under the Enhanced MCO are still not allowed.

People from various zones can now go out to travel safely by complying with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set under the Recovery MCO.

Nancy said the country will prove that it is capable of fighting Covid-19 and travelling on a regular basis is responsible for redeveloping the tourism economy that has been through enormous challenges this year.

Ismail said on Saturday that the SOPs for the tourism sector and the Work From Home directive will be reviewed following the ease of restrictions on travel beginning today.

“Although inter-state travel is allowed, there are some areas still under the CMCO, including tourist destinations, and social activities are prohibited in the CMCO areas.

“For example, Zoo Negara may be opened because it is in an open area, but because it is still in the CMCO region, social activities are not allowed,” Bernama reported him as saying.