KOTA BARU: The monsoon season is cushioning the impact of Covid-19 on Terengganu’s tourism sector, as some visitors are maintaining their holiday plans despite the routine temporary closure of resorts due to expected turbulent weather.
Between November and January, the north-easterly winds flowing into Southeast Asia bring heavy rainfall of up to 400mm and near-gale force winds, affecting the idyllic setting of Terengganu’s picturesque islands.
This usually stops the flow of tourists to the popular destinations – but perhaps due to holidaymakers forced to travel locally, or because Malaysians are going stir-crazy – visitors to the islands are continuing to stream in.
The prospect of having to deal with smaller crowds may be another factor in attracting monsoon holidaymakers.
A resort operator on Perhentian Island, D’Lagoon Chalet and Restaurant manager Nor Hafiza Abdul Razak, said the business is not suffering as much as it was during the Movement Control Order (MCO).
“During the MCO, (the) number of visitors recorded in March, June, July and August (was down significantly). But a few people are still coming to visit the islands.
“Some visitors have decided to go ahead with their plans, as the upcoming monsoon will see resort operators shuttering businesses for a while. So the monsoon actually has provided us with a breather,” said the 42-year-old.
Nor Hafiza said before the pandemic, more than a 1,000 visitors would throng the islands on the weekends.
“But nowadays, we see less than half (of that).”
About 50 chalets and boat operators on Terengganu’s holiday islands are expected to close for the monsoon season by the middle of November.
But not all visitors are spurred by the monsoon to carry on with their vacation plans.
Salesman Mohd Saifullah Zakaria, 35, said he has postponed plans to visit Perhentian Island due to the rise in Covid-19 cases.
“I had wanted to bring my wife and two kids to one of the resorts there. But the spike in cases is quite disconcerting. I guess we have to wait until next year.”
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