It's time to set up tourism data bank — AmBank Research

It's time to set up tourism data bank — AmBank Research
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KUALA LUMPUR (March 11): The establishment of a centralised and well-coordinated tourism data bank will help spread more economic benefits created by the industry to the overall economy, both directly and indirectly, said AmBank Research.

In a note today, it said the data bank will house comprehensive information on tourism and related businesses at the industry, local council, state and national levels.

"It will assist both policymakers and businesses to find ways and means to address ongoing issues triggered by this pandemic (Covid-19). 

"This includes preventing more job losses while creating temporary jobs within the industry, upskilling and reskilling of the workforce based on new demand of the industry,” it said, noting that it is also important to address the loss of talent after those who were laid off switched to unrelated jobs such as Grab drivers. 

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysia set an ambitious target of attracting 30 million visitors in 2020 (26.1 million in 2019), with close to RM100 billion in tourism receipts through the Visit Malaysia 2020 tourism campaign. But the pandemic health crisis wrecked the 2020 target.

By the end of 2020, tourist arrivals plunged by 83.4% on an annual basis to 4.33 million compared to the previous year. Tourist expenditure dived to RM12.7 billion, while per capita expenditure dropped by 11.2% to RM2,931.20 on an annual basis in 2020.

“While the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic will be uneven across various economic sectors, the risk of tourism economy to be among one of the last to recover is extremely high.

“This is despite signs of emerging recovery, supported by domestic travellers. Long-distance travellers are likely to stay away until confidence is restored in the safety of travel, which could probably happen in 2022,” it said, adding that prior to the pandemic, the tourism economy contributed 15.9% of gross domestic product (GDP).  

AmBank Research said looking at the future of the industry, there is a need for policymakers to design strong and coordinated actions to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and support the recovery of the industry.

It said policies must be designed to take opportunities of new technologies, implement green recovery strategies, drive new business models, explore new niches/markets and open up new destinations.

“There is a need to integrate the different tourism policy approaches, have policy clarity and take steps to limit uncertainty, strengthen multilateral cooperation and develop collaborative systems across borders to safely resume travel. These will restore traveller and business confidence, stimulate demand and accelerate tourism recovery,” it added.