Johor Jaya assemblywoman and Johor’s former State Tourism, Women, Family and Community Development Exco, Liow Cai Tung has expressed her regrets on Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister, Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri’s decision to put a halt on the Visit Malaysia Year 2020 (VMY2020) campaign that were announced on 18th March 2020.
In her press statement dated 19th March 2020, Cai Tung stated that VMY2020 is an important component in the ministry and the cancellation was made due to the spread of COVID-19 that has affected the country’s tourism. She cited Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA)’s statistics that has recorded losses amounted to RM500million from travel packages and bookings cancellations since the outbreak scare heightened. The tourism industry, she said, was hopeful for the situation to turn to the better by mid-year 2020 however the outbreak has worsened as days goes.
Cai Tung calls for the government to give aid to the domestic tourism industry in this trying time.
Cai Tung explained that the previous government had allocated RM1.1billion for the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, RM300million of it were exclusively to fund awareness and promotion during the VMY2020 campaign. A fund known as GAMELAN Malaysia has a total of RM5million to aid tourism players in marketing and promotions. Johor Budget 2020 allocated another RM15million to Johor Tourism for Visit Johor 2020.
She suggested for the current government to channel the said funds to cushion the tourism industry which includes hotels, shopping malls, theme parks, tourist guide, tourist bus, travel agencies and the likes that have been affected by COVID-19 outbreak.
The federal government has implemented the Movement Restriction Order (MRO) from 18th till 31st March 2020 nationwide, and Cai Tung advises the citizens to cooperate by abiding to the restrictions.