2020 was supposed to be Malaysian Tourism’s year with the Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020) Campaign.
But now due to the unexpected outbreak of the Coronavirus or COVID-19 (2019-nCoV), local tour operators in Malaysia are facing over 3,000 tour group cancellations.
Booking Cancellations have only increased since Chinese New Year, when the Chinese government banned its residents from booking trips abroad. This includes Malaysia.
The infection has so far executed 2,200 individuals and infected more than 75,000 people, most of whom are in China. The virus has managed to spread to many nations including Malaysia, which has 22 confirmed cases.
Visit Malaysia 2020 Campaign vs. Coronavirus
Initially, the VM2020 Campaign targeted 30 million tourists and around RM100 billion tourist receipts for 2020.
However, it looks as if this will be hard to achieve, despite Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi’s optimism.
How Has Coronavirus COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV affected Malaysia?
As of 24 February 2020, there are currently 7 Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Malaysia. The patients are currently receiving proper treatment in an undisclosed hospital in the country.
But the situation is getting better, as the previous 7th and 8th Coronavirus cases were discharged. They were confirmed to already have recovered from the novel virus.
Malaysia to Release a Stimulus Package Amidst 2019-nCoV Outbreak
Despite this, Malaysia is reported to launch a “stimulus package” that aims to soften the impact of the decline in Tourism on its local economy.
The Stimulus Package which was said to be officially declared on February 27, will concentrate primarily on Tourism, Retail and Aeronautics. Construction and Manufacturing might also get lucky in receiving a package as well.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said last Thursday that Malaysia be one of the 1st countries in the world to do such counter-measures. His comment came only weeks after the central bank cautioned that Malaysia’s first-quarter development would be hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, and the World Bank recommended the nation may need to amend its annual target of 4.8%.
Business analysts extensively respected the move, saying that extending the country’s fiscal deficit was a reasonable measure to contain the issue. However, they also warned that it should be executed cautiously.
The country’s close connections to China make it especially defenseless against the effect of the coronavirus. Especially since Chinese tourists are its biggest market when it comes to tourism.
Try Travelling Local Instead
Ms. Liow Cai Tung state executive councilor overseeing tourism in Johor has instead advised tourists to travel local instead.
“It is a good time for domestic tourists to explore what Johor as the southern state of Malaysia has to offer.”
In Sabah, local businesses, travel organizations and hotels plus cafés have begun offering special promotional bundles to draw in Malaysians.
A Malay Mail report said that tour companies and five-star hotels have cut their prices in half and created “staycation” bundles with food and refreshment tossed in to allure local Malaysian visitors.
The Malaysian Association of Hotels allegedly said there have been 95,972 room retractions across the country since Jan 26, adding up to misfortunes up to RM40 million (US$9.66 million).