In light of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, Malaysia’s Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry have decided to cancel the Visit Malaysia Year 2020 campaign (commonly known as VM2020).
“This is effective immediately,” confirmed Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, in a public address on Wednesday, 18th March 2020, during which she also confirmed the suspension of all over-the-counter and online services for the ministry’s Tourism Licensing Division.
“These include the ministry’s state offices concerning tourism licensing such as tour guides, tour drivers, tourism training institutes, and the registration of tourism accommodation premises, rated spa centres and foot massage centres, until 31st March,” added the minister.
As reported earlier this week, Malaysia is currently operating under a Movement Control Order (MCO), which limits tourism services, but does not constitute a full lockdown. Further to these measures announced by the nation’s National Security Council, the tourism minister clarified that all tourist accommodation will be permitted to operate at a minimum level.
“All guests must remain in their rooms for the quarantine period, but are allowed to order food through room service. Check-ins at tourist accommodation will also be permitted, but on a small and limited scale,” said the minister. “For guests [who] extend their stay throughout the MCO, they may register with tourism accommodation suited to their budgets,” she said.
“I appeal to the public to adhere to social distancing throughout the MCO and get verified information [from] official sources,” she added. For the latest information about the virus, along with officially sanctioned safety precautions, Panorama Destination recommends the World Health Organization (WHO) website.
During the MCO in Malaysia, no new visas will be approved for international visitors, effectively allowing the country to close its borders to outsiders and stem the influx of anyone potentially carrying the COVID-19 virus. These temporary measures mirror the steps being taken in other countries (such as Indonesia and Vietnam), where tourism sectors are seeing temporary visa restrictions and closures of tourism objects in an effort to block, contain and eradicate the virus, before reopening to the public with better safety controls in place next month. Malaysia’s MCO is expected to last for only two weeks, from 18-31 March.
Panorama Destination is closely monitoring the situation in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. You can follow our coverage of the coronavirus and its impact on tourism via our social media channels: