The tourism industry is gearing for a reopening on the heels of a recent announcement on privileges accorded to fully vaccinated individuals.
Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) chief executive officer Yap Lip Seng said although the relaxations were only for states in Phase Two and above under the National Recovery Plan (NRP), it was a significant step forward not just for the tourism industry but also the country as a whole.
"It bears commitment from the government to transition the country from the state of pandemic to accepting Covid-19 as endemic.
"While these are relatively small progressive steps especially for the tourism industry, the industry can now prepare itself for an impending reopening," he said in a statement.
Yap said allowing dine-in at restaurants, for example, was expected to benefit hotels.
"This will particularly benefit those certified Clean & Safe by the Bureau Veritas Certification Malaysia, a proprietary hygiene and safety label for hotels by MAH, that had since its inception included ventilation, airflow and seating arrangements as part of safety and health guidelines for restaurants in the hotels.
"The overall high compliance of standard operating procedures by hotels is an added assurance to the general public that it is safe to dine and even stay whether it is just for a short staycation or for any other travel purposes," he said.
He said the association had also presented another proposals to the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry, on allowing fully-vaccinated individuals to travel interstate, with added controls of confirmed hotel bookings and itinerary that could be counter-monitored by hotels.
"With the current progress, this should be the next phase of relaxation, commencing for travels between states that had transitioned to Phase Two of the NRP.
"The hotel industry is ready and will support the Government in taking calculated steps towards full reopening of tourism, not just domestic but also international."
On Sunday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the government has agreed to ease the restrictions in the social sector for fully vaccinated individuals who reside in states under Phase Two and above of the NRP, effective today.
Among the restrictions being lifted were the ban on dine-ins, inter-district travel, sports and recreational activities without physical contact, as well as tourism activities within the same state involving homestays and hotels.