Sabah has firmed up a comprehensive tourism recovery road map that hopes to see the gradual reopening of the industry badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The reopening hinges on industry players to be fully vaccinated and the creation of potential travel bubbles, Sabah Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said.
Bangkuai, who chaired the Tourism Recovery Committee meeting on Wednesday (Aug 4), said that there was also a proposal for Covid-19 insurance to be included in tourism packages to cover travellers.
They are also considering developing green accreditation certification for all local tourism operators before they re-open.
The certification would be compulsory for such players to ensure that all SOPs were followed at their respective tourism operations, he said.
Bangkuai, who is Sabah Tourism Board (STB) chairman, said that the three-hour meeting was also an opportunity to engage and reconnect with the current situation of the tourism industry players in Sabah.
Bangkuai said there was a need for insurance coverage as matters such as quarantine and hospitalisation may continue to be in effect as long as Covid-19 prevails.
Among the tourism players at the meeting were representatives from the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry; Tourism Malaysia; Sabah Tourist Association; Sabah Tourist Guide Association; Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents; Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents; Malaysia Association of Hotels; Malaysia Budget and Business Hotel Association; Persatuan Pemandu Pelancong Bumiputera; and Federation of Rural Tourism Association.
During the meeting, the Tourism Minister, represented by Ibrahim Othman, said that the various associations should come out with travel bubble packages and provide feasible suggestions.
He said that vaccination for tourism players will be done by zones starting with Kota Kinabalu and followed by the Ranau or Semporna districts
Tourism Malaysia Sabah director Mohd Faharuddin Hatmin reiterated that in order for the travel bubble to work, the packages offered should be a seamless point-to-point journey for the travellers.
Sabah is projecting to achieve 60% herd immunity by October and they hope for tourism to reopen also.
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