KOTA KINABALU: The majority of tourism players in the Sandakan district have yet to receive the RM20,000 tourism grant under the state government stimulus package, says Sandakan Tourism Association (STAN) president Teo Chee Kim.
He said it has been nearly five months since the grant was announced under the previous Warisan Plus government, adding that STAN hopes the state Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry can expedite the disbursement to the approved applicants.
“Without a doubt, our tourism industry is the hardest-hit sector during this crisis.
“Since the movement control order (MCO) started in March, the tourism industry is virtually at a standstill," he said.
Teo said that souvenir shops, cafes, restaurants and even hotels are closing due to the impact of the pandemic.
“For an industry that brings in billions in revenue annually and provides thousands of jobs, I think the industry merits every bit of immediate government intervention to keep it alive, ” said Teo in a statement on Monday (Dec 7).
The RM10mil tourism development grant was first announced by then Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal in June this year, as part of the state government's stimulus package under the "Sabah New Deal".
Under the scheme, tourism players in Sabah can apply for the grant up to a maximum of RM20,000 for the upgrading of tourism infrastructure such as
homestay facilities and community-based tourism products.
The deadline for applications was Aug 31.
“We hope the ministry concerned can expedite the disbursement so qualified applicants can start their upgrading works and mitigate cash-flow problems, ” added Teo.
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