The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) is calling for Government initiatives to resuscitate the tourism industry by developing and implementing health accreditation that can guarantee health and safety standards to boost confidence on tourism facilities for both locals and tourists.
MATTA President Tan Kok Liang in his statement at the Online Forum organised by MATTA in collaboration with The Star Media Group said, “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.”
“Today, we see malls and food and beverage outlets running under low capacity due
to the ‘Stay At Home’ tagline and the fear of being infected with Covid-19. 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 Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the Ministry of Health may consider
initiating a health accreditation mark programme for the tourism value chain which
includes aviation, hotels, tourism attractions, retail outlets, transportation operations,
cruises and food and beverage outlets amongst others.
“Otherwise, Malaysian tourism industry will be trailing behind neighbouring countries. Travellers will only venture into the world if they feel it is safe to do so. It is therefore crucial for industry stakeholders to provide them with confidence and peace of mind.”
Tan further highlighted that the badge will act as a safeguard towards staff and visitors and earning it will require rigorous online training and assessment session focused on hygiene and physical distancing which suppliers will need to complete before self-certifying. Spot checks will also be carried out and the mark will be stripped from any business that is found to be non-compliant.
“Implementation and coordination by the Government is vital to ensure that measures
are in place to help rebuild confidence which are jointly embraced by the Government
and private sector. Many tourism businesses are beginning to embrace the emergence
of new norms positively, in preparation for when the situation starts to normalise,” Tan said.
According to MATTA, if the situation continues to prevail, about one million workers will soon lose their jobs if the situation continues driving tourism workers into poverty.