Sunday, September 20

Strong cooperation from all players key to reviving Malaysian tourism post-Covid-19 — Minister   

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Abdul Karim presents a copy of a local tourism magazine to Nancy, as Hii (right) and Naroden (left) look on. — Photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING: The tourism sector in Malaysia should be able to weather the challenges and setbacks brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, provided that every player works together as a team, says Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.

In this respect, she points  out that the government of the day has been working ‘tremendously hard’ not only in managing the impact from the pandemic, but more importantly, reviving the nation’s economy as well.

Its efforts have not gone in vain, she says, adding that Malaysia has been recognised as one of the few countries that are doing well in managing the pandemic.

“While we’re excited to revive the industry, we must never let our guard down. In our earnest effort to restore public confidence in the tourism sector, we must still adhere to all standard operation procedures (SOP).

“I understand that business may not the same post-Covid-19, but through ingenuity and hard work, we will hit the ground running.

“Even now, hospitality businesses are progressively opening with their SOPs in place. This goes to show that the safety of our guests and clients must always be on the top of our minds,” she said during a dinner here on Thursday.

Nancy assured everyone that the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture of Sarawak Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah and herself had been working hard to ensure that the tourism industry would return to its glory days, ‘sooner than expected’.

“I know many have suffered financially. Looking back, however, I believe all these difficulties have not made us weak; instead, they have made us stronger, wiser and more resilient.

“If anything, this pandemic has taught me to believe that ‘there’s always rainbow after every storm’ – and that, we should set a positive and optimistic mindset,” she said.

Earlier, Abdul Karim said he regarded the federal ministry’s domestic tourism recovery programme as ‘timely’ in reviving the tourism sector, which had been adversely affected by Covid-19.

He also said Sarawak would continue with the ‘Visit Sarawak Campaign’ focusing on strengthening the ‘More to Discover in Sarawak’ brand and also promoting the five key themes of Sarawak’s unique tourism experience – namely culture, adventure, nature, food and festivals (CANFF).

He said a new post-Covid-19 campaign taglined ‘Rediscover Yourself in Sarawak’ was being planned to reach out to the domestic market i.e. intra-state and inter-state travels, and also to help traveller embrace the new norms.

“With the reopening of domestic tourism, several strategies have also been identified in order to help the state’s tourism, arts and crafts industry to recover,” he said.

The strategies are focused on building confidence among travellers to come to Sarawak post-Covid-19, assisting tourism players with the RM1 million Visitors Incentive Package (VIP), running up-skilling and capacity-building programmes for the tourism industry players, diversifying tourism to go beyond leisure, leveraging on e-commerce platforms, developing and upgrading tourism products, preparing the tourism industry players’ digital capacity through the allocation of the RM250,000 Sarawak Tourism Online Ecosystem Fund, supporting the business event planners by initiating the RM1 million Incentivised Package and Business Events Development Programme, enhancing air, sea and land connectivity and accessibility, and also establishing training centres specialised in arts and handicrafts.

Abdul Karim pointed out tourism as one of 14 sectors under the focus of the Sarawak Economic Action Council (SEAC).

Assistant Minister of International Trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais, and permanent secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture of Sarawak, Hii Chang Kee, were also present at yesterday’s event.