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Tourism, recreational destinations ready to be 'invaded' by visitors

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 12): Tourism and recreational destinations in several states are ready to be "invaded" by visitors, following the government's announcement to lift the ban on interstate travel beginning Monday (Oct 11).

Several states have begun preparations to receive tourists to boost the tourism sector in their respective states, after the industry had been affected since March last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In Terengganu, the state is targeting 1.5 million tourist arrivals by the end of December, and according to state Tourism Culture and Digital Technology Committee chairman Ariffin Deraman, tourism industry activists and hotel operators are receiving very encouraging bookings at the moment.

"Although Terengganu will soon experience the monsoon season, we very much welcome the arrival of tourists because there are still many tourist locations operating during that period," he told reporters after officiating the 'gotong-royong' programme to beautify tourism products from Kuala Terengganu district communities in Kalang Warisan on Oct 11.

According to him, the promotional efforts carried out by the state government and industry activists in Terengganu have had a very positive impact and many have expressed longing to return to travel, as they are tired of being "confined" due to the pandemic.

"Industry players need to take full advantage of this opportunity to provide the best services to tourists as it is also an effective marketing strategy to attract more tourist arrivals in the future," he said.

In Penang, state Tourism and Creative Economy Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said the tourism sector, especially the hotel, restaurant and other industries in the state were ready to welcome 50,000 tourists to Penang.

He said hotel room bookings were also expected to increase by up to 60% this weekend and the state's tourism sector would fully recover around June next year with foreign tourists starting to return to Penang.

"Our tourism focus is only targeted at domestic tourists now and maybe in June next year foreign tourists will return here. This expectation is based on the current situation of Covid-19 globally and we hope all parties will continue to maintain SOPs (standard operating procedures) in efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19," he said.

In Perlis, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azlan Man said the tourism sector would have a big impact on the state's economic development, following the interstate clearance and also reminded the public to abide by the SOP.

"Tourists make Perlis a transit destination to Langkawi (in Kedah) and (when) they explore interesting places in the state, it will have a spillover effect to Perlis," he told reporters here on Oct 11.

On Sunday (Oct 10), Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the government is lifting the ban on interstate travel starting Monday, and with the decision, the "Malaysian Family" can travel, especially returning to their hometowns to visit parents whom they have been long separated from, alongside other reasons.

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