KUALA LUMPUR, 18 March 2021: Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport is actively discussing SOPs with the National Security Council in order to resume domestic cruises, according to the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA).

MATTA president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said: “MATTA has
been working very closely with industry partners like Costa Crociere SPA’s
Singapore office and the Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture to kickstart
domestic cruises to revive the ailing tourism sector.”

Cruises to nowhere have already been launched in Singapore
and have been successful in providing much-needed stimulus to the local
economy. Similar cruises have been introduced in Taiwan, while cruises in the
UK will also resume on 17 May.

“MATTA has long recognized the immense potential of the
cruise industry, which benefits not only travel agencies but also hotels, the
aviation sector, theme parks, attractions, retail and many other
tourism-related industries.”

“A single ship, like the Costa Venezia, with a capacity
of 5,000 passengers, can generate revenue of up to MYR60 million. In addition
to that, domestic cruises, especially during these trying times, have the
potential to generate thousands of jobs almost immediately, especially in port
cities like Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Langkawi and Melaka.”, he added.

MATTA honorary secretary-general Nigel Wong added: “We have
been engaging the relevant ministries for years not just on the implementation
of domestic cruises as a quick-win solution during these trying times but more
importantly the benefits of having Malaysia recognized as a home-port
destination.”

“We already have the necessary infrastructure and
manpower in place to serve this emerging and profitable sector – the long-term
benefits of having home-port status are immense, especially since Malaysia is
recognized worldwide as a very modern and progressive Muslim-friendly
destination.”

“Tourists from all over the globe will fly into Malaysia to
embark on their cruise holiday and, in the process, will very likely extend
their stay in Malaysia. Needless to say, one can only imagine the untapped
potential we have at our fingertips.”

“We would like to commend both the Ministry of Tourism Arts
and Culture and the Ministry of Transportation in their efforts to open up this
industry – MATTA will continue to spearhead this effort and work closely with
all relevant ministries to make this dream a reality”, Wong concluded.