SOPs with standardisation, consistency required for intra-Asean travel

KUALA LUMPUR: Asean countries need to consider applying standardisation and consistency in the standard operating procedures (SOPs) requirement within the intra-Asean travel bubble for better recovery in the tourism industry, said AirAsia Malaysia chief executive officer Riad Asmat.

He said at present, different countries have different sets of protocols and SOPs in engaging the pandemic, with few travel bubbles which have made travelling difficult.

“Of course, the challenge now is to adjust the protocols according to the uncertainties and occurrence of new variants but instead of adjusting, we need to standardise the SOPs across the Asean countries and also work together with corporate and private sectors,” he said during a virtual webinar titled ‘Asean Tourism Webinar 2021: Outlook and Pathways to Recovery’ today.

As such, he opined that continued discussion is required in terms of understanding the proper and accurate technology to be utilised in addressing the SOPs across the border within the Asean countries.

“For example, AirAsia came out with the super app recently and we are going to have our own digital passport which will allow all our passengers to upload their certificates and Covid-19 test results into the app,” he said.

Riad said AirAsia would be also be working with other partners in the region to standardise the requirement and to make sure that the information provided was valid and authentic.

“Furthermore, I think proper outlines with consistency across the region would make travelling much easier, enabling the tourism industry to recover from all the setbacks caused by the pandemic,” he added.

Malaysia witnessed a massive drop in international tourist arrivals last year, which plummeted to 4.33 million compared with 26.1 million in 2019. 

The tourist receipts also plunged by 85.3 percent to RM12.67 billion in 2020 from RM86.1 billion in 2019, while the average per capita expenditure amounted to RM2,928.40, down 11.3 percent from RM3,300.40 in 2019. – Bernama