KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Christina Liew hopes that Sabah's borders can be opened to tourists from China as a start, as the tourism industry recovers from the effects of Covid-19.
This was following China’s announcement that it was considering opening its borders to certain “green countries” for inbound and outbound tourism.
"The good news is that the 'green' countries include Malaysia.
“After four months of business closure, we have a positive outlook for the months to come.
“We are confident that the situation will gradually improve and it will be 'business as usual' by the end of the year or early next year, ” said the Sabah tourism, culture and environment minister.
Shre said this following a recent meeting with Consul-General of China in Kota Kinabalu, Liang Caide.
The China market was a major contributor to tourism arrivals in Sabah before the pandemic due to the short travelling time and the availability of direct flights.
Liew said both sides would work towards resuming issuance of Malaysian visas to Chinese travellers on a government-to-government (G2G) basis in preparation for this.
She said according to Liang, the Malaysian Embassy and Malaysian Consulate in China had previously stopped issuing tourist visas to Chinese citizens due to the pandemic and imposition of the movement control order (MCO).
“Liang informed me that China would resume the Hangzhou-Kuala Lumpur air route soon.
"They are planning to reopen the Hangzhou International Airport and have identified six routes, including Hangzhou to Kuala Lumpur by AirAsiaX," she said.
For now, it is understood that flights between Malaysia and China are confined to ferrying Chinese nationals back to their country, while only a limited number of Chinese nationals with valid passes (issued by Malaysian authorities in China) fly from China to Kuala Lumpur.
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