In partnership with Tourism Malaysia, the Sabah tourist association (STA), has taken proactive steps to promote domestic tourism, following the lifting of travel restrictions within the country in compliance with the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO).
The STA President Tonny Chew said efforts to improve domestic tourism are necessary to revive Sabah's tourist industry because arrivals from state tourism are decreasing after travelers have canceled bookings or postponed their travel plans due to health concerns, as well as travel bans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
'Since interstate traveling is now permitted in the country, the first determining move is to restore the trust of domestic travelers to Sabah by upholding the SOPs laid down by the Health Ministry,' he said in a statement.
STA partnered with Tourism Malaysia with MASwings in collaboration to jointly organize a four-day three-night familiarization trip to Semporna, which took place from 17 until 20 July, to rejuvenate the badly-affected tourism industry of Sabah.
The entourage comprised of 28 members from STA, Tourism Malaysia, MASwings, Malaysia Airlines (MAS), the media and social media influencers.
Meanwhile, Director of Tourism Malaysia Sabah Jamilah Abdul Halim said the trip of familiarity is a timely way of helping the 'Travel Dometic Campaign.'
"It is hoped that through the plans and activities for this trip domestic tourists will be able to travel back to Sabah, particularly with the media publicity.
"Through an interchange of participating tour operators and industry players, packages with attractive offers can also be developed," she added.
STA’s honorary secretary-general and trip leader, Pauline Chin said the visit was filled with visits to several spectacular attractions around Semporna including Bohey Dulang, Mantabuan, Sibuan, Mabul and the Kapalei Islands.
"This included hiking, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, and sunset watching to provide a first-hand tourist experience for the participants," she said.
She said participants also experienced staying in various types of accommodations to better relate to every traveler’s style and budget.
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