Prepare for the relaunch of tourist activities after a long hiatus

THE the last time I took a flight was 16 days before the introduction of the movement control order (MCO) on March 18, 2020, to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country. I traveled to Sarawak and did not wear a mask the entire trip.

Around the same time, a religious rally was held at a mosque in Sri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur, for four days from February 27 to March 1 and drew 16,000 participants, including 14,500 Malaysians and 1,500 foreigners from various nationalities.

It was not until March 11 that the first case of Covid-19 was detected from this gathering which has become the largest cluster in Malaysia.

During this time, everyone could travel freely and those who were cautious wore masks as the first case detected in the country was on January 25.

In total, 42,023 people were screened in this cluster and 3,375 were confirmed positive for Covid -19 with 34 deaths.

This single cluster alone accounted for 38.9% of the cumulative total of Covid-19 cases and 28.1% of the total of Covid-19 deaths in the country as of July 9, 2020.

By then, the MCO had been replaced by the conditional MCO (CMCO) in May and further relaxed with the recovery MCO (RMCO) from June.

I was then able to conduct workouts safely in large hotel reception halls where everyone wore masks and practiced physical distancing.

But for over 16 months from March 2020 until now I have been grounded in Kuala Lumpur while in the past I have often flown north to Penang and Langkawi or east to Kuching and Kota Kinabalu for training.

On March 1, 2020, I flew to Kuching to attend a gala dinner held on the occasion of the celebration of the first anniversary of Suara sarawak, a local Malaysian newspaper.

I was then a columnist at New Sarawak forum, an English newspaper from the same group of companies.

On this fateful Sunday morning, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was sworn in as the eighth Prime Minister of Malaysia.

In the evening, the dinner at the Riverside Majestic hotel took place in the presence of the Chief Minister. The air was truly electrifying, on politics and the winds of change.

For more convenience, I chose to stay in the same hotel so that I could return to my room in no time after dinner without having to limit my consumption.

The hotel management granted me a free room which made my stay even more enjoyable and the whole trip memorable.

Earlier in 2018, I stayed at the same hotel at the invitation of the Sarawak Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports to facilitate a session on ‘Guide training and shortages Tourism in Sarawak ”at the Sarawak Tourism Workshop.

In both cases the quality of the rooms and the food was comparable to that of the best five star hotels I have stayed in.

Although wholly owned by the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation, a statutory body, the Riverside Majestic Hotel was surprisingly well managed by a team of professionals.

Towards the end of this month, I could fly from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi to attend a module review workshop for a compulsory course that travel agents have been taking since 2012 to renew their corporate licenses.

In October 2016, I took a three-week course in Langkawi with participants from other ASEAN countries and qualified as one of ASEAN’s two Master Tourism Trainer for travel agencies in Malaysia. The venue was the four-star Holiday Villa Beach Resort and Spa Langkawi.

Since then I had written a lot about Langkawi, focusing on Pantai Cenang which was a bummer for me as the whole stretch had developed haphazardly, more like a cowboy town when I was there. -based only to an international tourist spot for well-off visitors.

Walking along Jalan Pantai Cenang was not much different from any inland tourist town as the view of the open sea was blocked by shops and buildings lining both sides of the road. Man-made structures should not have been built on the side between the beach and the road.

Fortunately, Pantai Cenang proved to be very popular with locals as it suited domestic visitors well for its affordability, while foreign tourists choosing to stay at beach hotels were pleased with the privacy of the seaside. in the courtyard of the hotels devoid of crowds. .

After a five-year hiatus, I would take notes on areas where the vacation island had progressed, stagnated or regressed.

In 1994, I helped organize Langkawi’s first tour guide training. Prior to that, I visited the island for meetings and checked out my branch.

Hopefully the Langkawi Travel Bubble will be successful and replicated across the country, and face-to-face training starts to gain momentum.

Zoom sessions are good for briefings but less effective than classroom training with more interactions between trainer and participants.

To intelligently develop domestic tourism, we must take into account the main purpose of travel for domestic visitors.

Only 10.4% were on vacation, while 40.6% went to visit friends and relatives. and 34.7% for purchases.

Another 5.2% was for entertainment, sport or business events, 4.6% for medical treatment and 4.5% for others.

So far, all of my domestic trips have been business events that mostly involved training in the tourism industry.

Thus, the revival of tourism activities begins with the remobilization of service personnel and equipment to restart operations or move up a gear.

Instead of continuing as usual, safety and health have become even more paramount under the new standard.

Therefore, adequate measures and contingency plans should be put in place by all tourism service providers to ensure that clients have already been fully vaccinated, tested negative and in full compliance with the latest standard operating procedures, including wearing masks and practicing physical distancing.

YS Chan is a Master Trainer for Mesra Malaysia and a Master Trainer in Asean Tourism. He is also a consultant and writer in the tourism and transportation sector, and a researcher for the Travel Industry Occupational Framework published by the Department of Skills Development. Comments: letters@thesundaily.com


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