HOTEL operators have been advised to work with travel agents to develop domestic tour packages for corporate companies and government departments.
Malaysia Association of Hotels (MAH) president Mohamad Halim Merican said the association encouraged hotels to work with the travel agents and devise domestic tour packages.
“Rather than having them travel individually, perhaps hotels and travel agents can come up with packages for companies or departments to travel on weekdays.
“The visitors can enjoy fair room rates, transportation will be covered, among others.
“It is for the members to talk to the travel agents and implement the ideas,” he said during the WHOLE PENANG 2020 hybrid forum ‘Rethink, Reconnect & Reinvent Domestic Tourism’ at Setia SPICE Convention Centre today.
Mohamad Halim said the idea could benefit other components of the tourism industry.
He said the association had presented about 25 stimulus ideas to the Government to stimulate domestic travel.
“We are happy that 16 ideas were considered,” he said.
He added that now is the time to travel locally.
“International tourist arrivals are seasonal. Like in Penang, the state receives huge influx from December to February or March,” he said.
He said domestic tourists could fill the ‘gap’ left by international tourists.
“We can safely assume that 20 million Malaysians out of 32 million population in the country are able to travel on their own.
“International arrivals to Malaysia (year-on-year) ranges between 25 million and 28 million.
“Compare the two, they are only about 8 million people difference.
“So, definitely, domestic tourists can fill the gap,” he said.
Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board domestic and event division senior director Datuk Dr Amar Abd Ghapar said the tourism industry players must remain resilient and work as a team to revive the industry.
“Each component should complement the other.
“We need to see ‘movement of people’ in tourism.
“Like it or not, we need physical movement in the tourism industry.
“We cannot do it only virtually. Tourism is all about the senses – touch, see, smell, taste and hear,” he said.
Joining Mohamad Halim and Dr Amar were Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) past president Datuk Hamzah Rahmat, Malaysia Tourism Council (MTC) president Uzaidi Udanis and Tourism Educators Association of Malaysia (TEAM) president Assoc Prof Dr Mohd Hafiz Mohd Hanafiah.
The three-day World Hospitality, Lifestyle and Entertainment Exhibition and Conference (WHOLE PENANG 2020) started today at the Setia SPICE Convention Centre in Bayan Lepas.
Some 100 exhibitors showcased their latest products that are related to the hospitality industry. They include several companies (mainly from the ASEAN countries) which have also taken up virtual booths.
Alpine Group Services organised the WHOLE PENANG 2020 in a hybrid manner in view of the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The WHOLE PENANG 2020 hybrid concept provides both physical and virtual platforms for exhibitors and visitors to take part in the event.
Story by Christopher Tan
Pix by Noor Siti Nabilah Noorazis