To say that the worsening of the haze situation as the smog moves north in Malaysia will not affect tourism arrival is an understatement. Major inbound travel agencies in Kuala Lumpur had said there had been no cancellations or postponements in bookings so far.
The Air Pollutant Index (API), Malaysia’s version of the Pollutant Standards Index, hit critical levels over the weekend, prompting Prime Minister Najib to declare a state of emergency in Muar and Ledang in Johor on Sunday after API readings crossed 750, according to local newspaper.
Most inbound agents are saying that “Forward bookings from the Indian market are still coming in for Diwali and the year-end winter holiday season.”.
“There are no cancellations because of the haze. However, we are keeping our partner consultants informed of the situation. There are still bookings coming in until July 10, after which movement is slow during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Post-Eid bookings are still coming in.
“We are running tours as normal and these are mainly to Kuala Lumpur, Sunway Lagoon Theme Park, Resorts World Genting, Langkawi and Penang.”
Diethelm Travel Malaysia, which handles traffic from the European inbound market, revealed that tours were running as usual on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. “However, we are receiving fewer forward bookings from Europe for July and August,” they observed.
Malaysia Airlines yesterday issued a press statement warning passengers of possible last-minute cancellations and retimings due to the “current haze situation which had deteriorated in parts of Malaysia over the last few days”.
It further stated that specific stations were under close watch for possible closure or interruptions, namely Kuantan’s Sultan Ahmad Shah Airport, Kota Baru’s Sultan Ismail Petra Airport, Kuala Terengganu’s Sultan Mahmud Airport, Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Kota Kinabalu International Airport.