MATTA calls for implementation of health certification to revive tourism industry

KUCHING: Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) is calling for government initiatives to resuscitate the tourism industry by developing an d implementing health accreditation on health and safety standards to boost confidence on tourism facilities for both locals and tourists.

Its president Datuk Tan Kok Liang who made the call in a statement issued yesterday said implementation and coordination by the government is vital to ensure that measures are effective.

"The tourism industry needs to deal with the core issue of health and safety confidence in travel as the new priority.
No amount of digitalisation, promotions, incentives or freebies can directly help to create demand except to boost the much-needed confidence that it is safe to travel through coordinated efforts with the relevant authorities.

The global private sector has aligned around the health and safety protocols to create consistency across the industry."

He added that malls and food and beverage outlets are running under low capacity due to the 'Stay At Home' tagline and the fear of Covid-19 infection.

"The authorities should replace the 'Stay At Home' tagline with a new one such as 'Stay Safe' to portray a more
positive message.

"The future of travel and market recovery in the next 12 months will be challenging and unpredictable due to the global recession along with travel restrictions resulting in the industry coming into a standstill."

The industry has grown very sensitive towards health and safety protocols due to the pandemic and attaining people's trust will be a challenging task. Nonetheless, the desire to travel will not go away and many are hoping that they will be able to travel again within several months after restrictions are lifted."

Many tourism businesses are beginning to embrace the emergence of new norms positively, in preparation for when the situation starts to normalise, he added.

Tan pointed out that countries like Turkey. Singapore, and Thailand are also developing and implementing a health and safety certification as a preventive and protective step for the tourists as well as to ensure that tourism is able to recover quickly once travel restrictions are lifted.

"Given that the government views easing border controls as low priority and the Conditional Movement Control Order
may not be lifted, the tourism industry will continue to suffer severe repercussions in terms of workers being laid off, hotels closing and tourism establishments folding up.

About one million workers will soon lose their jobs if the situation continue s driving tourism workers into poverty."

"On that note, MATTA welcomes the statement issued by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah
Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah urging the government to restore the country's tourism sector and set out schemes to support companies and businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, " Tan said.