Langkawi not ready for resumption of tourism yet, minister says


THE tourism industry in Langkawi is not ready to re-open just yet, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.

Nancy said her ministry had targeted Langkawi to be the first tourist spot to open yesterday in an aim to boost the socio-economy of the people impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The island was chosen because it was isolated and its population had reached herd immunity.

“However, based on the feedback from industry players, the industry is not ready for reopening yet.

“We’ve heard what the industry wanted and needed, and once it is ready, we will promote and advertise them. Our role is to not only promote tourism but also, to pay attention to what is needed,” she said during a press conference in Putrajaya yesterday.

On Tuesday, Kedah Mentri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor said he hopes that the island can be opened under the tourism bubble starting Sept 16 in conjunction with the Malaysia Day celebration.

However, he said the opening up of Langkawi was subject to the Kedah health department’s risk assessment and the number of Covid-19 cases on the tourist island.

According to Nancy, her ministry will put in place certain strategies and efforts to prepare for the reopening of the tourism industry as economic sectors slowly resume.

She said this will include an action plan for the coordination and communication for all levels of relevant authorities involved.

Her ministry will ensure both external and internal communication channels will be involved, including overseas parties, to ensure an open communication line.

“We will be using our own mechanism, and a check and balance system called the ‘War Room’ as a platform to monitor any plans or strategies that are currently being implemented as well as any future ones.”

“In an aim to reach the 100 days target, we will launch a Delivery Task Force to solve any issues within the industry that may arise. We will hold discussions every two weeks or twice a month where we will invite experts and advisors to join us,” she said.

Nancy added that the ministry will also include an email, [email protected], to give the public an opportunity to present ideas, opinions or suggestions that could help the industry with its recovery process. She also said the ministry will

look into ways to restore travellers’ confidence while reopening the industry in a safe, progressive and sustainable manner.

“Domestic travel remains very important, and we need to ensure the narrative being put out can increase the travellers’ confidence and open them to the multiple possibilities of travel locations within the country. Everyone will be looking at safety as a priority,” she said.

Nancy said digitalisation will play an important role in the recovery process, and there are plans to create a body that will focus solely on the efforts of recovery for the industry.

“This will be in line with the launching of the National Culture Policy by the prime minister,” she noted.