Fast-track vaccine rollout, says Matta

by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by TMR FILE

THE Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) has called for the government to fast-track the vaccination rollout to facilitate the reopening of borders.

Its president Datuk Tan Kok Liang (picture) said the push for the vaccination rollout for the people will help pave the way to a quicker reopening of borders and thereby the revival of tourism and all its related economic subsectors.

“We have written to the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme coordinating minister to fast-track the vaccination programme rollout for workers in the tourism industry.

“This move is critical if we are to reinforce the nation’s reputation as one of the foremost tourism destinations in South-East Asia.

“As can be seen by several other countries, the success of their vaccination programmes has resulted in these countries being able to open their borders to international travel,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Matta also welcomes many of the initiatives outlined in the Pemerkasa+ (Supplementary Strategic Programme to Empower the People and Economy) announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Monday.

The association hoped the initiative will help tourism players, in particular travel agents, stay afloat during this time of crisis.

Another announcement of particular significance is the rehabilitation programme for buses, a move that Matta has been calling on the government to make since the early stages of the pandemic.

“We are thankful that the government has taken the bold decision to intervene on behalf of bus owners as the previous moratoriums did not apply to leasing companies.

“Matta estimates that its members alone own more than 9,000 vehicles classified as tour buses, many of which were purchased from credit and leasing companies.

“The debt is impossible to service, given these trying times have the potential of crippling the tourism ecosystem if not dealt with swiftly and decisively,” he added.