MAH calls for unified system for tourism industry

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 27): The Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) has urged the government to consider establishing a unified system that supports the tourism industry’s decision-making process in creating more products and services that address the immediate need of the industry.

Chief executive officer Yap Lip Seng (pictured) said the tourism industry currently lacked data management and analytics that were much needed to be used as a reference for travel patterns and tourist trends.

He said Malaysia is really far behind neighbouring countries in terms of managing its data and taking actions based on data.

“Just look at tourist arrivals for example. We recorded 26 million tourist arrivals in 2019 but half of them are Singaporeans and do we even classify them as tourists?.

“And the report only comes in the middle of the year for the year before. It is not actionable with the reports coming six months after the actual period,” he said during a webinar titled “Post-COVID-19 Recovery: Building SME Resilient” organised by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) today.

He said trade associations such as MAH played a major role in consolidating industry players’ need for technology.

Meanwhile, according to a policy paper by IDEAS, a comprehensive revision could still be made on a recently released long-term recovery plan for the tourism sector to better meet the future patterns and tourism trends. 

The think tank said the existing plan should encapsulate guidelines that ensure updated safety and hygiene standards to protect tourists and the local community by focusing on the strict enforcement of social distancing measures, hygiene standards and crisis management.

It said the plan, if executed properly, would help Malaysia to regain the confidence of travellers in the near term.

It added that consolidation of existing and relevant standard operating procedures is currently being upheld by some stakeholders, including the safety and hygiene guidelines. 

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