Tourism players happy with Sabah’s plan to restart sector


  • Nation
  • Monday, 01 Jun 2020

PETALING JAYA: Tourism players have given the thumbs up to Sabah to restart the industry, saying that the state’s template can be an example for others to emulate.

They agree that nature-based tourism such as diving, jungle trekking and rural tourism as suggested by Sabah Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan (pic) would be the best way to get things going under the conditional movement control order.

Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association president Uzaidi Udanis said that Sabah was one of the most proactive states in tourism as it was dependent on the sector.

“Most of their travel agents are doing inbound tourism compared to the peninsula where there is more focus on outbound tourism, ” he said.He said Europe, for example, was slowly opening up its tourism sector by focusing on activities such as walking tours, which do not involve public transportation.

“The important thing is not having crowds, and adhering to the standard operating procedure (SOP).

“It is going to be some time before the vaccine for Covid-19 is found, so we have to live with it, ” he said.

Malaysian Association of Tour And Travel Agents president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said for Sabah to restart the industry, they would have to open up their borders by reviewing the 14-day quarantine for those entering the state.

He said almost 2.5 million visitors to the state were from the peninsula. “The global trend is most countries will promote domestic tourism as a kickstart as borders are closed and circumstances are unpredictable, ” he said.

He said nature, adventure and rural tourism would be the norm given the physical distancing requirements, adding that there would be an SOP for everything from vehicles to places of accommodation.

Tan, however, said the recovery of the tourism industry would require a push from outside, with interstate travel being crucial and vital.

He said they could then open up to other low-risk countries such as Taiwan, Vietnam and Brunei.

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