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Tourism Recovery in Malaysia

Malaysia Tourism Recovery Plan

The most talked about subject in the travel and tourism industry is all about the tourism recovery in Malaysia in this unfortunate post-pandemic time.

By now, many of us already know that the tourism sector in Malaysia has been hit very badly due to the lockdown of the country and the closure of international borders.

Often, we wonder how some of the smaller tourism-related businesses have made it this far since March of 2020. Hundreds of tourism businesses have since closed and there are even more in the coming months.

Tourism Recovery in Malaysia

There has been a lot of talk about this, but until the time of writing this, there has been little announcements on how the tourism recovery in Malaysia will be done.

Since the closure of the international borders was in effect, no one was allowed to enter the country and this, of course, was also seen around the world and not only Malaysia.

Among the hardest-hit industries are the travel agents, hotels, tourism attractions, transportation, airlines and of course the attractions.

It has reached a point in Malaysia where numerous hotels have closed down completely and this was not only small ones buy even three to four-star hotels.

Some of the smaller travel and tour agents have also been hit so hard that several of them have closed down or are on the verge of closing or for sale.

To be very honest, no one saw this coming and it truly is the worst tragedy for the tourism industry in Malaysia and around the world.

For now, those who are left standing can only hope and pray for things to get back to normal. And now in this post-pandemic world with the new normal of living, things are going to be very different.

Travel Bubble Malaysia
Travel bubbles were once the talk of the industry.

Travel Bubbles for Malaysia and Other Countries

This is something that will never work, even though many countries have been talking about it, even Malaysia at one point.

It is a silly idea and I wonder who suggested this in the first place. The whole Covid 19 issue is something we cannot control and having a travel bubble makes no sense. 

Imagine spending all that time, planning and money to create a travel bubble with Singapore, and then one of the countries has an outbreak, the who plan is up in flames.

Dialogues, Talks and Seminars on Tourism Recovery in Malaysia

This has been done by various bodies like MATTA, Tourism Malaysia and independent tourism companies, but I can assure you that no one really knows what's happening.

So, why have all these talks if you are unsure about the pandemic situation? It's all a show to let people know that they are doing something in these trying times.

As I have been involved in tourism for over 10 years, I personally know how these things happen without results. It's all talk and little or no conclusion.

Why I say this is not because I am taking pot-shots at these people, but because no one really knows how to handle this pandemic and yet, they go ahead and try to provide useless solutions.

A good example is the travel bubbles with other countries, which clearly does not work in a pandemic. 

Tourism Malaysia Covid19
Tourist and locals spotted in Kuala Lumpur during Covid19. Photo Xinhuanet.

So, what can be done for now? 

Honestly, the Covid 19 pandemic has really messed up the tourism industry locally and worldwide. If any tourism board has a plan, it is nothing sold as things can backfire.

For now, everyone has to wait for the vaccine to be produced and then wait for the pandemic to subside in terms of spreading. This can take anywhere from six months to a year or even more.

Malaysia is also awaiting a Covid19 vaccine and has allocated a massive budget for this. But again, when the vaccine arrives, not everyone will be the first to get it.

The first in line for the Covid19 vaccine will be the frontliners and the tourism industry is probably one of the last industries to get it.

So, how do people fix this massive tourism problem locally? Because for now, international arrivals is still very subjective and will be the biggest problem for importing the disease.

Malaysia Self-Drive Holiday Vacation
Self-driving would be one of the most popular vacations around Malaysia.

Self-Drive Holidays in Malaysia

Currently one of the best options for locals to explore is the self-drive holidays around Malaysia as this is quite simple and relatively safe.

Most of the destinations in Peninsular Malaysia are within a few hours drive making it viable for locals to travel to other states for their vacation.

You do not need to buy an RV or recreational vehicle to do this as you can just do it with your own car. In the worst case, you can rent a van if you plan to bring your family.

While this sounds very interesting, not all Malaysians will opt for this method as they may find it too troublesome. They would rather just fly and take the risk.

Malaysia Covid 19 Safe Destinations
Visiting some of the not-so-popular places in Malaysia is a good start.

Visit Destinations around Peninsular Malaysia

The safest thing one can do is explore the multiple destinations around Peninsular Malaysia when the CMCO is lifted.

You need to be cautious on certain states if they have red zones for Covid 19 too. Please try to avoid those places.

Recommended places to visit would be islands, nature retreats and not so commercial destinations around Malaysia.

Places like Sabah and Sarawak require flying and one needs to double check if they require a Covid19 scan before entering the state.

Tourism Malaysia Budget 2021
Tourism Minister Nancy Shukri with her tourism plan. Photo by Bernama.

Extreme Measures for Tourism Industry in Malaysia

In early November, MATTA Malaysia issued an official news statement asking tourism players to explore other fields of work because the pandemic was getting nowhere.

And for the Malaysia Budget 2021, there was not much allocated towards assisting tourism in Malaysia which resulted in many sectors being unhappy with the current government.

Since then, there have been some budget changes in assisting the tourism sector but not everyone will benefit from this.

At the rate things are going, it looks like it is every man or woman for himself or herself in the tourism industry.

alaysia Covid19 Vaccine
Everyone is waiting for the Covid19 Vaccine in Malaysia

Conclusion

At the end of the day, this pandemic is so uncertain that no one can guarantee anything. While cases may subside for a few days, it can suddenly explore with double to quadruple-digit cases overnight.

Since there is no official vaccine out yet, a lot of speculation and guessing games are used by all walks of life and this has created much confusion among the tourism industry people.

We can only hope for the best to come in 2021, but from now until mid of next year, things are still uncertain in terms of tourism recovery in Malaysia.

The tourism ministry and other related bodies like MATTA, Malaysia hotels, guides and others will continue to voice their opinions and suggestions. But there is no immediate fix to opening up our borders.

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