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MATTA urges govt to announce Langkawi travel bubble SOP

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (MATTA) is hoping that the standard operating procedures (SOP) for the Langkawi pilot travel bubble programme will be announced soon.

MATTA Kedah chapter chairman Mohd Yusin Mohd Yatim said tourism industry players are ready to welcome tourists after a long hiatus due to Covid-19 pandemic nationwide.

He believes the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry, together with the National Security Council (NSC) have drafted the relevant SOP to monitor the Covid-19 situation throughout the pilot programme.

"Of course, since this is a pilot programme, we anticipate the government to fine tune the SOP along the way.

"The NSC knows what should be done and we hope the SOP can be announced soon.

"The industry players should know about the new SOP, maybe there are new ones included. So it is better if it can be announced earlier," he said.

The pilot programme, which Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced earlier this month, is set to kick off on Sept 16.

Mohd Yusin said full vaccination should be the utmost priority in the criteria for travelers to be allowed to come to Langkawi.

"As for the other SOP, let us wait and see what the government announces," he added.

In terms of preparation, he said the Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) has conducted courses for the tourism and food and beverage sectors, with emphasis on strict adherence to SOP.

However, he said some industries may take some time until they resume operations.

"For instance, vehicle rental service providers have to service their cars before they can offer their products to tourists. This involves cost so this might take time," he added.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said the SOP for the pilot programme has been submitted to the NSC for review.

She hopes it can be approved and gazetted by the middle of next week.

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