Tourism Productivity Nexus (TPN) has proposed to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC) to relook existing regulations for tourism businesses to tide them through these challenging times of Covid-19.
TPN chairman, Uzaidi Udanis, said in a meeting on Tuesday chaired by the tourism, arts and culture minister, Nancy Shukri, that he had proposed for the MOTAC to temporarily abolish the requirement that tour operators and travel agents need to maintain a physical office to renew their licenses.
He added: “Many operators and travel agents are currently working from home due to the ongoing pandemic. Yet, they have to maintain an office and pay rental. We proposed that the ministry consider a two-year exemption as it will take about that period for the industry to recover.”
TPN had also proposed for a wider choice of licensed vehicles for the purpose of transporting high-end domestic tourists who are willing to pay more for a comfortable journey.
Uzaidi said: “We proposed the licensing of recreational vehicles and caravans to operators. Under the current regulations, bus operators can convert their tour buses to recreational vehicles, but it has to be licensed under a personal name. Thus, it cannot be used for commercial purposes.”
Also brought up during the meeting was the need to upskill and retrain tourist guides to deepen their knowledge on local destinations so as to cater for the medium to high-end domestic market, shared Uzaidi.
He explained: “It is crucial for tourist guides to provide in-depth story-telling at the destination as this is what local tourists want. They are familiar with the country they live in, so when on a domestic holiday, they seek in-depth explanations of the places they visit.
“We proposed for the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to look at providing affordable courses on upskilling and retraining such as offering these courses at public universities with a nominal fee. This will encourage tourist guides to take such courses.”
He also put forth the suggestion for the MOTAC to register adventure operators in order to safeguard the safety of tourists. Currently, there is no special category for adventure operators to register with the ministry.