Not long ago, our tourism minister announced to the media and on social media that any Malaysian intending to travel overseas or foreigner planning to visit this country can only do so earliest in June 2021. She said this is for the good of the country and her people. To be honest, the moment she said this, many tourism operators began to feel a chill running down their spines!
The thing is if international travels are banned, those in the tourist industry, including airline companies, will have to take the brunt, and hundreds of thousands employed in this sector will be out of work! Those in our business are still waiting patiently for the RM1 billion emergency assistance from the tourism ministry, and we have little idea where the money has gone! Our dear minister, can we look to you for our lifeline?
Between January 24 and March 17 well before the MCO, China was the first to seal its borders and this was soon followed by many other countries, marking the start of the war against the virus for the travel fraternity worldwide. Inbound travel operators, tour bus companies, hotels, souvenir shops, restaurants, private theme parks, etc. were the first to take the blows. Workers, tour guides and drivers were laid off and some companies simply shuttered their doors to stop the bleeding. The 3 to 6 month unemployment assistance provided by the government came as a relief, but what about the hefty debts those companies had on their shoulders?
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