STB launches domestic travel stimulus to help tour operators

KOTA KINABALU: Local tour operators offering domestic travel packages including accommodation, transport and tours stand to benefit from the Domestic Travel Stimulus under Sabah Tourism Board, supported by the state government.

Caretaker Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Christina Liew said the stimulus was to provide incentive and assistance to tourism players, with emphasis on domestic tourism as international borders are still closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.
“Before, we were just focusing on the international market, but with the launch today, we will also be focusing on domestic stakeholders and players so they will receive some assistance from the state government.

“Sabah Tourism Board came up with this incentive together with relevant people and they will be working very quickly on the ground once they receive applications. The whole purpose is to assist stakeholders and local operators to help them overcome the difficulty now,” said Christina.

Giving them incentives will also encourage more activities when it comes to local domestic tourism, Christina added, saying it was the government’s initiative to launch the packages and it was up to the initiative of the individual ministries to look into devising programmes in terms of assisting stakeholders, when it comes to the Ministry of Tourism.

Under the Domestic Travel Stimulus, all Sabah-based licensed tour operators selling domestic tour packages which include accommodation, transportation and tours are eligible to an incentive of RM50 per traveller as per criteria set by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said to qualify for the incentive, the travelling period for holiday makers is from September 17, 2020 to March 31, 2021.

This is a crucial window to boost domestic travel before any possibility on opening of international borders in 2021, he said. This incentive is only eligible for local-based, licensed tour operators who are selling domestic tour packages which include accommodation, transportation and tours.

This is a fair distribution initiative for tourism stakeholders, particularly tour operators, homestays, product owners, dive operators and tour guides that generally have been left out from the Sabah New Deal.

“An incentive of RM50 per pax will be offered to licensed tour operators promoting a minimum 3 Days 2 Nights package in Sabah. This financial support will be utilised to add value to tour packages, making it attractive and creating enthusiasm for domestic holiday makers to visit Sabah. It will also help to subsidise additional cost incurred due to implementation of health and safety protocols due to Covid-19."

"Number of persons required is from a minimum of four pax up to 25 pax per package, so the incentive given would be between RM200 to RM1,250. We are pleased to note the required forms are available from Sabah Tourism Board to facilitate payment effective today,” said Tan.

He also urged tourism players to participate at the national online MATTA Fair from September 23 to 30, as well as the physical national MATTA Fair in Kuala Lumpur from November 7 to 8.

“I hope other states in Malaysia will emulate the exemplary initiative by the state government of Sabah that has taken into account the financial hardship and lack of support, particularly to tour operators and travel agents,” said Tan.