Interstate travel: Malaysians thrilled, hotel operators anticipate surge in bookings

KUALA LUMPUR,. The announcement on the lifting of the interstate travel restrictions from tomorrow was the happiest news for the Malaysian Family after the long wait to meet their loved ones in their hometowns and go for a family holiday.

Overall, Malaysians reacted positively to the good news announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today.

A private secondary school teacher in Kuala Lumpur, Mohammad Fakkrudin, 24, said he was thankful now that he has the opportunity to be together again with his family members in the village after being apart for such a long time.

“I just can’t wait to go home in Kedah as I have been missing and longing to meet my parents. The time has finally come because we have achieved the vaccination target but we must not let our guard down now that the restrictions have eased. The standard operating procedures (SOP) should remain a priority,” he told Bernama today.

In SELANGOR, private sector employee NurHabibah Abdul Halim, 26, who lives in Setia Alam, Shah Alam said, she was relieved and excited as she had not visited her hometown for almost 10 months, adding that all her family members had been fully vaccinated since August.

“I am thrilled and nervous at the same time. I miss my parents and siblings dearly because we could only stay in touch through video calls. Anyway I shouldn’t be afraid as all of us have been vaccinated, she said.

Another private sector worker, Norazwani Abdul Razak, 26, said she had been waiting for the long-awaited news as the last time she was back at her hometown in Machang, Kelantan was last April.

“My parents are definitely the first people I want to be with. For the first time this year I had to celebrate Hari Raya away from them, she said.

Meanwhile, Selangor Health director Datuk Dr Sha’ari Ngadiman advised the public to remain disciplined by adhering to the SOPs to curb the spread of COVID-19 infection.

State Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) assistant director (Operations) Hafisham Mohd Noor also advised those who wish to return to their hometowns to ensure that their homes were secured and safe before their departure.

In MELAKA, housewife Siti Hajar Mohtar, 28, who lives in Durian Tunggal, Alor Gajah, said she was glad to hear the Prime Minister’s announcement today, as she had been waiting for the chance to return to her village in Jeli, Kelantan.

“I have not been home in my village for more than a year after my husband was transferred here in September last year. In fact I had to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Aidiladha away from my family members this year,” she said.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Budget Hotel Association (MyBHA) Melaka chapter president Sazali Sabri said, hotel operators in the state were fully prepared for the surge in visitors next week, following the government’s announcement on the interstate travel starting from tomorrow.

“Most importantly, we need to maintain the SOPs as we do not want an increase in COVID cases and the approval to be revoked because if this happens it will definitely put a toll on industry players who are just about to breathe again,” he said, adding that all 176 budget hotels under the association have made the preliminary preparations including getting their workers vaccinated since last August.

In PERAK, civil servant Nur Amera Syazwana Rosli is excited to meet her parents and siblings in Alor Setar, Kedah.

“I was overcome with emotion when I heard the news because finally my family can be reunited again. God willing I will back in my hometown next week,” she said.

Perak police chief Datuk Mior Faridalatrash Wahid meanwhile said his department would focus on SOP compliance and monitoring of popular public spots.

State Housing, Local Government and Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Nolee Ashilin Mohammed Radzi said the state government welcomed the decision on the interstate travel and the state tourism sector was prepared to receive domestic tourists.

In KELANTAN, state executive councillor Major (R) Datuk Md Anizam Ab Rahman said with the announcement, the state government would be expecting some 300,000 visitors to enter the state by the end of this month.

In NEGERI SEMBILAN, police chief Datuk Mohamad Mat Yusop said the police would be monitoring the traffic flow with interstate travel activities expected to increase and hoped that the people would continue to comply with the SOPs.

In PENANG, Association of Tourism Attractions Penang (ATAP) chairman Ch’ng Huck Theng said the government’s move to allow interstate travel would help boost tourism activities in the state.

“Most of the tourist centres under the association have been preparing for this over the past few months,” he said.

In PAHANG, State Tourism, Culture, Environment, Plantation and Commodities Committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin called on the public to support the domestic tourism industry in the spirit of the Malaysian Family.

In JOHOR, Malaysia Tourist Guides Council (MTGC) president Jimmy Leong Wie Kong said the announcement had been eagerly anticipated by the tourism sector and the move would help promote economic growth.

Meanwhile private sector employee Nur Shafatin Mohd Nor, 25, said she and her husband have been waiting to go on a holiday as this had to be postponed since their wedding was held during the Movement Control Order (MCO).

In KEDAH, Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor said with interstate travel allowed this would boost tourism activities in Langkawi and hopefully the target of 400,000 tourist arrivals by December would be achieved.



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