KOTA KINABALU: Tourism industry players in Sabah have been urged to step up their game following the resumption of the Electronic Travel Registration and Information (eNTRI) service for Chinese and Indian tourists.
Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Christina Liew said it was important for travel agents, hotels, restaurants, shops and operators of tourist attractions to improve their services and brace for the expected large group of arrivals.
She also advised airport staff and enforcement agencies such as the Immigration and Customs to keep themselves updated on travel news to ensure a smooth handling of tourists, especially at the airport arrival and departure halls.
Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents president Datuk Seri Winston Liaw said the resumption of the eNTRI service was a positive move.
“For Sabah, we expect more than 80,000 to 100,000 tourists for this Chinese New Year holidays,” he said when contacted.
“We expect a continuous growth this year, provided that there are sufficient rooms to accommodate the increase in arrivals, especially on the East Coast where there is a limited supply,” said Liaw.
He also called on the tour agents and the government to cater to the increase in arrivals by, among others, enhancing new tourists attractions, creating more sources of entertainment and improving infrastructure.
Liaw said tour agents should also bring tourists to and allow them to visit city outlets, restaurants, souvenir shops and shopping malls in Kota Kinabalu.
“Now, most guided tours are controlled by agents who bring these tourists to designated shops and restaurants in the suburbs.
“That's why we don't see too many tourists in town nowadays,” he said.