Stakeholders hail Sabah's move to reopen tourism

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah government's decision to allow tourism activities to resume has been described as timely not just for holiday goers but also economic sectors devastated by Covid-19 and movement restrictions.

Malaysian Association Of Tour And Travel Agents (MATTA) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said tourism stakeholders had been hit hard by the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) since Oct.

"This leniency is timely for the upcoming holidays and festive season.

"We do hope that as a next step, the state government will review the requirement for Covid-19 test currently enforced for travellers from West Malaysia and Sarawak," he said in a statement.

The state government has allowed entry for those with negative results taken three days before departure.

An updated standard operating procedure (SOP) for tour operators and hoteliers was released on Monday which coincided with the resumption of inter-district travel.

Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Joniston Bangkuai urged tourism industry players and visitors to comply with the SOPs and not be the source of a spike or new coronavirus cluster.

"The provision to operate is needed, however, if both parties do not uphold their SOPs responsibility, it affects the entire industry, yet again.

"Let's work together. I am sure many are equally eager to take a break from staying at home and once again explore the tourist spots in Sabah", he added.

Sabah Tourism Board general manager Noredah Othman said they had been promoting services such as food and beverages as well as co-working spaces on social media.

"Industry members can continue to submit their promotions for this free listing. Also, we have collaborated with Carhub and MasWings on two separate campaigns to keep the travel vibe and interest.

"That is the least what we can do on the forefront besides ensuring that we are ready to re-engage aggressively once the borders are open."