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A near-deserted Concubine Lane is seen in Ipoh November 12, 2020. — Picture by Farhan Najib
A near-deserted Concubine Lane is seen in Ipoh November 12, 2020. — Picture by Farhan Najib

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IPOH, Sept 1 — Perak Tourism Association (PTA) president Datuk Mohd Odzman Abdul Kadir said authorities and stakeholders should begin promoting the state as a safe travel destination to prepare for the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said that many tourists were still uncertain if Perak was safe to visit, which would discourage leisure and holiday travel to the state.

“If you are expecting Malaysians to jump into their car and drive to tourism destinations in Perak, think twice.

“The fear of Covid-19 has caused jitters and this will affect everyone who wants to holiday like the way they used to, prior to this pandemic,” he said in a statement.

Mohd Odzman said authorities and stakeholders should focus on domestic tourism in a controlled environment; the state government is preparing to reopen economic sectors with stricter standard operating procedures (SOP), which could revive tourism activities.

“Rebuilding tourism for the future by focusing on ‘domestic arrivals’ is of great importance. Although the tourism sector remains highly unpredictable, we must be optimistic and we must be ready.

“Domestic tourism is the only avenue that industry players can find hope in, to continue their business and provide employment opportunities to laid off staff,” he said.

He said steps must consequently be taken by the authorities and stakeholders to reduce fear and encourage safe travel.

“Local authorities must make sure that all tourism sectors comply with the SOP with regular monitoring and the blacklisting of rule-breakers must be done to set examples. I suggest that compliance ratings should be introduced here by local authorities.

“[The Tourism and Culture Ministry] and Tourism Perak must jointly introduce a ‘Compliance Certification’ to be placed next to the MySejathera QR code for tourists and the public to view. The certificate will denote that the operator is ‘Certified Safe to Visit’.

“Operators that take things easy and allow visitors to enter without complying will be blacklisted for a period and will not have a certificate to show.

“Tourists will be informed to lookout for the certificate issued by Tourism Perak. In this way, potential travellers to Perak will applaud the state for taking safety seriously,” he explained.

He urged the ministry and Tourism Perak to work with the tourism non-governmental organisation to create a “Perak is Your Safe Preferred Destination” campaign.

“This awareness campaign must cover all social media platforms with strategic display of the message at key locations across Malaysia,” he said.

“What I mean by saying ‘strategic display of messages’ is that I suggest that at the various tourist destination locations according to priority, visible signs are placed (for example) with the words: ‘Welcome to Bukit Chandan – You are now in a Tourism Safe Zone’,” he explained.

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