Safe travels in a post-Covid Malaysia


On October 10, 2021, three association giants in the industry and a national airline company united in ramping up destination readiness and facilitating Malaysia’s reopening to leisure and business travelers by signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU). The event  launched the Travel Safe Alliance Malaysia (TSAM) to position Malaysia as a safe destination for leisure and business travelers.

These four major players in Malaysia’s tourism, business events and the airline industry  are the Malaysian Association of Convention and Exhibition Organizers and Suppliers (MACEOS), the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH), the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) and airlines under the Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) consisting of Malaysia Airlines, Firefly and MASwings.

Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur

Signatories to the MOU were Datuk Tan Kok Liang, president of MATTA;  Dato’ N. Subramaniam, president of MAH; and Captain Izham Ismail, group chief executive officer of Malaysia Aviation. The signing ceremony, graced and witnessed by Francis Teo, president of MACEOS; YB Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri, minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia; YBhg Datuk Wira Dr Noor Zari Hamat, secretary-general of MOTAC; and Dato’ Hj. Zainuddin Abdul Wahab, director general of Tourism Malaysia, was held hybrid, virtually and in-person, at the Danna, Langkawi. Tourism and Business Events industry stakeholders from around Asean attended via a fully virtual platform.

Limestone pinnacles formation at Gunung Mulu National Park

The TSAM aims to ensure safety, security, and health concerns in travel into Malaysia in the near future and post Covid-19 pandemic period as well as to help bring back the travel and tourism industry in this country, region, and worldwide. They also seek to establish a favorable operating environment for all businesses involved in the delivery of travel and tourism in the country.

Local market scene in Kelantan

Certified by Bureau Veritas Certification Malaysia, TSAM is a complete ecosystem of safe travel solutions made up of the “Travel Safe Malaysia” label of MATTA for travel and tour arrangements; “Clean & Safe Malaysia” label of MAH for hotels; and “Safe Business Events [BE]” label of MACEOS for Business Events and convention venues. Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines will continue to be the flag bearer to vouch a seamless, safe and hygienic travel experience in line with its “Fly Confidently” campaign. 

Famous “Wau” or traditional kites made by Kelantanese craftsmen

The TSAM has committed to ensuring appropriate health and safety procedures and processes are in place with globally recognized best practices, procedures, and recommendations related to preventive measures for a safer travel and business environment during and after the Covid-19 pandemic period.  With the vaccination program gaining traction and the government strengthening support for tourism recovery plans in Langkawi and other major destinations, the collaboration is seen as a timely move to facilitate tourism and economic recovery efforts. 

Curved suspension bridge for pedestrians on Gunung (Mount)
Mat Cincang, Langkawi Island

Francis Teo, president of MACEOS,  agrees, saying: “This collaboration is a key move that will set Malaysia on the path to tourism and business events recovery. TSA Malaysia will provide unequivocal assurance to travelers and business events delegates that Malaysia is safe and ready to welcome international visitors to our shores.” He added, “For MACEOS, this collaboration and its outcome will strongly position Malaysia as a safe business events destination. It will help us gain the trust and confidence of our international clients and investors who are typically highly risk-averse. Their business decision on whether to choose Malaysia for their next international conference, convention, or exhibition, will be driven by health and safety risks they perceive in Malaysia. Having TSA Malaysia audit and certify our businesses will go a long way in driving up confidence in the market.” 

In his opening remarks, Datuk Tan Kok Liang, president of MATTA, noting the changing behavior of travelers due to the Covid-19 experience, said: “Current travel trends have indicated that travelers are placing a much greater emphasis on safety and hygiene. MATTA members, who are all licensed tour and travel operators, play a crucial role in ensuring that travelers’ safety needs are prioritized at all times whilst still being able to fully maximize their leisure time while they holiday in Malaysia.”

Mr. Francis Teo (from left), president of MACEOS, YBhg Dato’ N. Subramanian, president of MAH, YBhg Datuk Tan Kok Liang, president of MATTA, Capt. Izham bin Ismail, Group CEO of Malaysia Aiirlines Berhad

Dato’ N. Subramaniam, reiterating the marketing and branding potential of TSAM, said that “MAH was the first in the industry to introduce an independently certified hygiene and safety label for hotels last year in July 2020, with over 130 hotels on the program now. Our ‘Clean & Safe Malaysia’ hotel label is the sign to look for—it is an added assurance given to our guests for a worry-free stay be it for leisure or business.” He added that “the collaboration with MATTA and MACEOS further amplifies this, providing end-to-end safe travel solutions to travelers, and we are sending a strong message out to the world, that Malaysia is ready, we are ready to welcome everyone back.” 

Captain Izham Ismail, group chief executive officer of MAG, commented that “This alliance further signifies our commitment and seriousness to bring back confidence in traveling for all travelers that their health and safety are our utmost priority. We pledge to ensure our customers will bring back memorable experience of Malaysian Hospitality across every touchpoint. More so, all our employees on active rosters have been fully vaccinated. I am delighted to share that we saw a positive trend in forward booking reflecting customers’ confidence in traveling from the recently launched Langkawi Travel Bubble. This positive development has translated to an over 500-percent increase in our flight booking domestically, the highest recorded booking following the reopening of Langkawi. We believe the development of more travel bubbles with critical markets will help resuscitate air travel, at the same time, helping boost the socio economy of the people impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Malaysia Airlines, the country’s national carrier, currently flies to 58 countries within its network and, via our alliance with oneworld® and airline’s codeshare partners, Malaysia Airlines is set to offer superior connectivity once again with seamless journeys to 1,000 destinations across 150 plus countries. Together with sister airlines Firefly and MASwings, they are fully ready to facilitate safe air transportation service to, from and within Malaysia. 

Images courtesy of Selangor Bloodua |, (c) Tampatra1 |, Juhku |, (c) Howen |, Taolmor | and (c) Shariffc |

Read full article on BusinessMirror