Sabah govt working on bringing in Singapore tourists via travel bubble

Datuk Jafry Ariffin (second left) during the press conference at the launching of the 40 new premium chalets at Sutera @Mantanani Island Resort and Spa off Kota Belud on Wednesday.

KOTA BELUD: The Sabah government is working on bringing Singapore tourists via a travel bubble approach, which they hope to establish after Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Jafry Ariffin said as of now, his ministry is awaiting a decision from the state Cabinet while fine-tuning arrangements with stakeholders.

"We are in discussions with Sutera Harbour Resort (SHR) and Sutera @ Mantanani to provide a separate, safe travel route from Singapore direct to Kota Kinabalu and Mantanani Island in Kota Belud.

"The ministry needs to discuss this with stakeholders like Malaysia Airports Bhd so we can tighten standard operating procedures (SOP) where necessary.

"Then we will discuss it with the Tourism Ministry, as well as the Singapore side... so most likely after Hari Raya," he told reporters after launching 40 new premium chalets at the Sutera @Mantanani Island Resort and Spa on Wednesday (March 31).

On the suggestion by the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) that Sabah needs to prepare a roadmap and timeline on reopening borders for international travel, he said safety must be prioritised and so a travel bubble approach is preferred for now.

Magellan Sutera Resort general manager Adrian de Rozario said travel bubbles will be the way forward for tourism as the sector slowly recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

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