KOTA KINABALU, Feb 13 -- The Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry will look for ways to help tourism industry players who have been affected by the COVID-19 epidemic.
Covid-19 is the official name announced by the World Health Organisation for the 2019 novel coronavirus.
Tourism minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi said the ministry was aware that industry players were currently facing many problems which caused a drop in their earnings.
“We have held several series of meetings and discussions with the tourism industry players and they told us the many problems they faced including a drop of up to 30 per cent in bookings for accommodations.
“When the number of visitors drop, their earnings will also drop, resulting in other problems such as loan repayments for industry players who still have bank loans,” he told reporters after launching the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Adventure Travel Conference and Mart 2020 here today.
Mohamaddin said the ministry will also request banks to allow flexibility in loan repayment until after the problems caused by the COVID-19 epidemic are resolved.
“The tourism industry in Malaysia, as well as throughout the world, has been tested with a big challenge because of the COVID-19 epidemic. So it is everybody’s responsibility to support and help each other,” he said.
On the three-day conference, Mohamaddin said it is attended by 368 participants from 33 countries not just from Asia but also East Europe, including Bulgaria, Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary to discuss the tourism and travel industry.
“This conference is meaningful as it can help the Visit Malaysia Year 2020. This campaign focuses on eco-tourism, arts and culture, in line with the National Eco-Tourism Plan 2016-2025 and the National Culture Policy.
“We hope that this conference will highlight Malaysia as a tourist destination of choice..we also hope to promote and offer our tourism packages to overseas partners,” he said.