PETALING JAYA: Tourism industry players must beef up preparations to fully anticipate the expectations of incoming tourists, says Datuk Zainuddin Abdul Wahab (pic).

The Tourism Malaysia director-general said the sector was not the only one facing a lack of manpower.

“We hope that in an effort to promote tourism within and outside the country, industry players must be prepared to provide the best services on par with those before the pandemic,” he said.

He was commenting on grouses by hoteliers and the hospitality industry over the lack of workers.

Zainudin said the dissatisfaction from tourists, especially during this crucial period when the industry was on the road to recovery, could prove to be a stumbling block.

“It will affect a tourist’s interest to come back to Malaysia,” he said, adding that Malaysia must work compete with neighbouring countries to bring back tourists.

To resolve the manpower issue, Malaysia Association of Hotels national vice-president Khoo Boo Lim said many hotels now offered casual work to hospitality students.

“It used to be RM8 an hour. Now, we are offering RM10 to RM15 an hour,” he said.

However, for Association of Tourism Attractions Penang chairman Ch’ng Huck Theng, offering more money is not the chief solution.

“A happy workforce needs a sense of belonging, work-life balance and job satisfaction. Tourism players must have gatherings involving family members, boyfriends or girlfriends for their employees.

“People have changed in the last two years. They know the value of ‘me-time’ now.

“If you are in the tourism or services industry, you must accept this or you will never understand why you don’t have a steady workforce,” Ch’ng warned.