Melaka tourism to take two years to recover

MELAKA, May 5 — The Melaka tourism industry is expected to take at least two years to fully recover from to the impact of the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak, said Melaka Tourism, Heritage and Culture Committee chairman Datuk Muhamad Jailani Khamis.

He said it took into account various factors including economics that contributed to the temporary and permanent closures of a number of tourism facilities including hotels throughout the Movement Control Order (MCO) and tourist confidence to visit the state.

He said the effort to bring back the glory of Melaka as a popular tourist destination both locally and abroad required close co-operation from various parties, especially industry players from various tourism sectors.

“I believe that within two years after the end of COVID-19, the Malacca tourism industry will fully recover … the trust of the tourists in coming to our place takes time.

“So, numerous efforts need to be made more aggressively and we have plans to turn Melaka into a tourism trade centre to attract tourists to come,” he told a press conference on the latest developments in the Malacca tourism industry here today.

He further said that the state government had various plans to strengthen the tourism industry of Melaka but it was not feasible at this time following the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.

He said among the plan was to open more air routes to domestic and foreign destinations via the Melaka International Airport in Batu Berendam here as the medium of transport had been in high demand among domestic and foreign tourists over the last two years.

Muhamad Jailani said the number of tourists using the airline services in Melaka increased to more than 100,000 last year compared to less than 20,000 in 2018.

Meanwhile, he said various assistance and relief were given to the hotel sector in the state to ensure that the impact of the outbreak could be minimised so that it could survive until the COVID-19 ended.

“We have given relief for up to six month on the existing service tax from March and at the same time the payment of the Human Resources Development Fund levy for hotels and tourism companies has also been exempted since April.

“We have also agreed to negotiate with the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) for restructuring of payments to facilitate the cash flow of the tourism and hotel sector operators and we are now looking into the heritage charges that may be put off during this COVID-19 period,” he said.