Image credit: Britannica

KUALA LUMPUR: In luring international travellers amid the recurring Covid-19 infections, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) is eyeing to tap into green zone destinations with niche tourism attractions.

Its minister, Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said the ministry would look at various safe places, especially islands with the potential to be green zone destinations with niche activities like golfing, diving and eco adventure.

“Before this, we talked about opening up our country to green countries (countries that have recovered from COVID-19) but some of them have been facing the second wave of Covid-19. Thus, we need to be creative and find new ways of looking into the bubbles. It’s no more just a country, but more into niche areas and also islands.

“So now we are looking into this, by working together and discussing with the Ministry of Health, Wisma Putra, the National Security Council and National Disaster Management Agency, where MOTAC has been tasked to come out with the concept paper within this week or next week.

“However, mutual agreement between countries will also need to be established, if Malaysia decides to allow visitors into our green zone destinations,” she told reporters after officiating at the two-day Meet in Malaysia @ Malaysia Business Events Week at the Putra World Trade Centre here yesterday.

Meanwhile, Nancy said reciprocal green lanes and periodic commuting arrangements that had been implemented with Singapore, for example, could be extended to other countries, as long as both sides reached an agreeable decision. Earlier, in her speech at the event hosted by the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), Nancy said although international travel had been affected by the pandemic, the outlook for the business event industry in Malaysia was still on the positive side.

“While we fully understand that the landscape is bearish, I would like to repeatedly affirm that MOTAC, together with various ministries are doing their level best to keep things afloat in rebuilding the momentum, and when the moment arrives, we will be ready to restore tourism at a swift pace,” she said.

The minister said many events that were due to take place in Malaysia had been postponed instead of being cancelled, where the number of events secured and supported by MyCEB looked promising with only 24 events cancelled and 64 postponed.

“This is the perfect and timely platform to execute these conversations as it prepares all stakeholders to implement comprehensive business events recovery plans, and at the same time, ensuring sustainability and resilience,” she said of the Meet in Malaysia @ Malaysia Business Events Week.

“The theme of ‘Rebuilding Confidence’ is most apt as we weather the situation, while stimulating the tourism landscape through other avenues such as domestic travel or local corporate incentive programmes,” she added.