KOTA KINABALU: The Covid-19 pandemic is an opportunity for the tourism industry to reset strategies to thrive moving forward after the recovery phase, says Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.
He said the movement restrictions had given Sabah’s tourism destinations a chance to recuperate.
“The short-term plan is to revive tourism once the pandemic ends and all our industry players are waiting for this moment, ” he said during the official launch of Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) Halatuju, which is the state’s five-year development plan.
He reminded government leaders and civil servants that there would be stiff competition as other countries would be rushing to attract tourists when the international borders reopen.
“That is why we need to be creative by fully utilising digital technology such as digital marketing, use of various apps and virtual reality.
“We must explore various safe travel methods that are trusted by the global citizens, such as via travel bubble, green lane or ‘Covid-19-free’ travel pass, ” said Hajiji.
He revealed that under the SMJ plan, the government wants to balance mass tourism with high yield/high-end tourism in order to reduce dependency on the former.
“Therefore, new iconic attractions that are high impact must
be planned and implemented as prestigious destinations will be able to attract those in high-end category.
“For example, the recently announced Lok Kawi Resort City which is an up and coming integrated development comprising resorts, shopping malls and a theme park, among others.
“At the same time, our main assets are the natural landscape and our endemic wildlife and marine life.
“Sustainability of our destinations and tourism products is one of the main focus under the SMJ plan, where the carrying capacity of each tourism destination must be introduced and enforced.
“This is to ensure these unique attractions can be preserved and are in prime condition, ” he said.