KUALA LUMPUR: THE small and medium enterprises (SMEs) especially within the travel and tourism sector are badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and finding themselves adopting digital means of doing business and focusing on domestic demand.
To support the recovery of this sector, Google Malaysia, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and the Malaysian Association Of Tour And Travel Agents (MATTA), have announced a webinar series under the Mahir Digital Bersama Google initiative to help businesses connect with local consumers online.
With live streamed sessions beginning on Sept 30 and on Oct 1, 7, 8 and 14, Malaysian business owners and individuals will be able to sign up for free training and equip themselves with relevant digital knowledge to help kickstart their presence online, and grow their business using various digital tools from this programme.
The sessions will be conducted by trainers from Google and will also feature a sharing session by an SME guest, the founder of a KL Chinatown locale Kwai Chai Hong.
"Covid-19 may have demanded a lot from us, but we believe it is possible to emerge on the other side bigger, better and stronger. We've seen people and businesses adapt with resilience, determination and ingenuity, and as we move towards Malaysia's economic recovery, we believe the only way for us to go from here on out is upwards and onwards," said Google Malaysia's country head, Marc Woo.
"We hope these training would be helpful for Malaysian small and medium businesses within the travel and tourism sector as we continue on our road to recovery," he said.
Meanwhile, MDEC's chief executive officer, Surina Shukri, said the Mahir Digital Bersama Google programme will further accelerate MDEC's goal in creating digitally-skilled Malaysians and digitally-powered businesses, especially in the tourism industry.
"Through this collaboration with Google, the programme seeks to scale the programme's content nationwide by empowering local SMEs in this sector to take the digital leap. We are confident that this programme will encourage more SMEs to fully embrace new digital tools offering a pathway beyond recovery from Covid-19," she said.
A recently published Google research on travel found one in two people in Asia Pacific are eager to resume travel.
The research also uncovered three key learnings for businesses that can help with travel recovery.
Firstly, by fuelling digital interest. Customers crave helpful information online.
Secondly, by being relevant in Covid. Safety is the new brand, but perception of safety differs by country.
Thirdly, by adopting new ways of doing business, such as the need to reignite meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions travel.
"In MATTA's effort to reboot the travel and tourism industry, we are glad to collaborate with Mahir Digital Bersama Google to equip our members of travel agents and tour operators with the tools to take their business online. With the recovery approach presenting so many challenges to businesses, it has never been more crucial for us to come together to empower our members' businesses by upskilling them with the right knowledge and tools to enhance their digital capabilities and boost business presence post Covid-19," said MATTA's president, Datuk Tan Kok Liang.
"Through these learnings, we hope that our members can take a leap into the digital world to connect with travellers more easily and effectively expand their audiences," he said.