Yeoh proposes “travel bubble” with green zone areas
for state gradual tourism approach
GEORGE TOWN – Penang is studying the implementation of a “travel bubble” for states which have been declared a green zone in order to balance both safety and tourism activities once interstate travelling is allowed nationwide.
Penang State EXCO for Tourism, Arts, Culture and Heritage (PETACH) YB Yeoh Soon Hin said this is one of the measures studied in an effort to plan ahead once Federal Government lifts the ban on interstate travelling.
“It has been more than two weeks now since Penang have been declared green zone in Malaysia. As we work towards maintaining the status, I am also studying the possible implementation of a “travel bubble” for states which have been declared a green zone in order to balance both safety and tourism activities once interstate travelling is allowed nationwide.
“It originated from the concept of “travel bubble”, proposed by Australia and New Zealand to gently ease into resuming travel and restart tourism industries as we look towards the new norm for Covid-19.
“As Penang is currently practising the Gradual Recovery Strategy, this could be a viable solution to begin with, rather than opening all our borders at once and risking transmission again- which will bring us back to square one and brought to waste the efforts to contain the virus which took us months long.
“This could be one of the state tourism approaches when our border reopen and interstate travelling is allowed. I foresee a gradual increase in tourism activities and movement then,” said Yeoh in a statement today.
He said this gradual and staggered approach, would, at the same time, allow ‘safe travel zones’ between green zones and reopen economies for tourism.
“I am also working on SOPs and guidelines for our tourism attractions and hoteliers including health and safety protocols in order to make Penang a safe place for both tourism personnel and future visitors.
“I believe that a standardised guideline will go a long way towards re-installing the confidence in travellers to come to Penang. This is the direction that we want to move towards – the next norm – as travellers now want to know they are offered the maximum safety priority when they leave their homes,” said Yeoh.
He said the “travel bubble” could be limited within Penang attractions first, before expanding into other states and internationally.
“We could kick-start the tourism economy gradually, but through constant monitoring of the progress before we proceed as it is a state priority to ensure that the state remains a green zone before Penang opens its tourism borders to welcome others.
“This approach forms a travelling network for areas with zero active Covid-19 cases, through which a corridor for green zones can be developed with other states, creating a “travel bubble” to restore traveller confidence gradually,” said Yeoh, adding that this would be raised during the tourism task force meeting taking place soon.