KOTA KINABALU: Domestic tourism will be the key to helping Sabah’s travel industry as the state government temporarily banned tourists from South Korea following the rising number of Covid-19 cases in that country.
The state government’s March 1 ban is necessary in view of the developing viral threat in South Korea whose citizens make up the second largest tourist arrivals in Sabah, says Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents (SATTA) president Datuk Seri Winston Liaw.
“We support the state government’s move, ” he said, explaining that it was necessary because Sabah did not have enough medical facilities to handle any major outbreak of the disease.
He said that under the current situation people in the state were moving around normally, which was an encouraging prospect for domestic tourism.
“They are also getting good discounts.
“At least people feel safe coming out and are spending money, which may not have happened if we have cases in Sabah, ” he said.
Liaw added that the special discounts and tour packages could stimulate domestic tourism while waiting for the Covid-19 threat to recede.
With effect from March 1, all foreigners who have travelled to South Korea in the last 14 days would be refused entry to Sabah.
The temporary ban also includes all passengers originating or transiting from South Korea.
State Secretary Datuk Safar Untong, who announced it on Saturday, said the travel restriction was for points of entry from air, sea and land.
Sabah has already put in place a similar ban on travellers from China since Jan 31.
On whether the association was worried that the economic stimulus package announced by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad would be put on hold, Liaw hoped the new government would give priority to the country’s economy.
“They should maintain the stimulus package or introduce better initiatives, ” he said.
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