KOTA KINABALU: Tourism players in the state are hoping to restart the industry in the green zones, says Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.
He said from a meeting held on Wednesday (May 27), it was clear that the tourism industry in Sabah has been hard hit like the rest of the country.
“But I think it is worse for Sabah because we are dependent on foreign tourists, especially from the China market, ” he said.
Jeffrey said it was possible that tourism activities in green zones such as diving, jungle trekking and rural tourism could restart soon under the conditional movement control order (MCO).
“There is no reason why tourism in these areas and sectors cannot be allowed to start with proper standard operating procedures, ” he said, adding that activities in red zones and other high risk areas would not be allowed to operate.
He said at the rate of the Covid-19 pandemic situation globally and with no guarantee of a vaccine found anytime soon, the tourism sector could take a year or two to pick up.
Jeffrey then added that if some tourism activities were allowed to resume operations, it could do good for domestic tourism and the industry could recover starting the end of this year.
He said the people have to live with the situation and make adjustments to revive various industries.
"For Sabah, it can start from domestic tourism before moving to regional tourism involving neighbouring countries such as Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines and Indonesia.
"When the situation starts to get better, we can then consider venturing back into global tourism," he said.
On whether there would be more assistance for those affected by the MCO and the pandemic, he said the Federal Government was doing all it could to help those affected.
He also said that another stimulus package was being drawn up and would be announced by the Prime Minister in due course.
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