It has been a while since the Langkawi travel bubble started on September 16. While it may still be too early to see whether the pilot program is a success or not, it gives other tourist destinations across the country hope of reopening.
In the first 10 days of the pilot program, no less than 20,257 people visited the resort town of Kedah. This number is a little below the target of 30,000 set by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, which he hoped to reach by September 30.
This shortfall may be the result of a last-minute critical change in standard operating procedures, in which all visitors must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test before boarding the aircraft. or the ferry to the island.
However, the SOP update has been welcomed by many, including people who were initially skeptical of the travel bubble program, citing concerns about overcrowding and breaking the rules.
This in turn has helped build people’s confidence to travel, and so have the viral posts and trending topics on social media of tourists enjoying their vacations safely.
And now that interstate travel could resume this month, tourism players are finally starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
All of this is certainly good for the travel industry and the economy of Malaysia too. But now we need to strengthen the country’s position as one of the region’s top choices for vacationers as Malaysia prepares to open its borders and revive international tourism.
We can do this by making sure everyone adheres to the SOP and not exposing ourselves or anyone else to the risk of becoming infected so that we can remain a safe travel destination for all (or less, for vaccinated guests).
Meanwhile, in his speech to commemorate World Tourism Day on September 27, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a green and fair restart of the tourism industry.
He pointed out that in the first few months of this year alone, international tourist arrivals declined by 95% in some parts of the world. Forecasts suggest a loss of over US $ 4 trillion (RM16.74 trillion) in global GDP by the end of this year.
“This is a major shock for the developed economies. But for developing countries it’s an emergency, ”Guterres said.
“Climate change is also seriously affecting many major tourist destinations, especially small island developing states,” his message continued. There, tourism represents nearly 30% of all economic activity.
Guterres also said tourism enables “historically marginalized people and those at risk of being left behind to benefit from local and direct development.”
Tourism leads to prosperity and increases inclusive and sustainable development, he added.
“With millions of livelihoods at risk, it’s time to safely rethink, transform and restart tourism. “
This year’s World Tourism Day celebrations took place in Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire (Côte d’Ivoire), the host country, and focused on the theme “Tourism for Inclusive Growth”. It brought together 1,500 key tourism stakeholders and decision makers from around the world, including tourism ministers from 12 countries, making it the largest ministerial participation ever for an official World Tourism Day event.
In his speech, the Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, Zurab Pololikashvili, said that the travel industry must “commit to inclusive growth so that restarting tourism brings hope to millions of people around the world and ensure that all who have an interest in tourism also have a say in its future. “