Sabah tourism suggests VTL, travel bubble be implemented to reopen international borders

By TIN Media | Sabah Published 6 months ago on 27 January 2022
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SABAH:

Sabah is proposing that the current air and land vaccinated travel lane (VTL) framework to facilitate two-way travel between Malaysia and Singapore be implemented in the state.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Jafry Ariffin suggested that perhaps Sabah should be given the option to implement the travel bubble concept.

"It is a matter of survival and rejuvenating the economic chain of the tourism sector including accommodation, transportation and travel agencies," he said in response to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob's statement that the government would be looking at opening up the country's borders for foreign tourists to revive the tourism industry.

"I would like to express my appreciation and thank the government under the leadership of Ismail Sabri who understands the hardships experienced by many especially those in Sabah's tourism industry."

Jafry said his ministry would also ensure any decision made to reopen the international borders would stress on everyone's safety and health; the economy and continuation of business as well as the well-being of the people.

The views from the Health Ministry and the National Security Council would be sought as well, he said, adding that all the preventive measures taken were to avoid the emergence of new clusters, which could lead to the closure of tourism activities as well as affect the entire economic chain.

He added that the gradual reopening of the economic sector was paramount to ensure the survival of the tourism sector and would allow business activities to resume after being badly hit by the pandemic.

On Tuesday, Ismail Sabri, during a gathering with staff from the Prime Minister's Department, said the Health Ministry's views will be sought on the likelihood of easing the SOP slightly to allow the country's borders to be opened to international tourists.

The country's borders have remained closed since March 2020 due to concerns over Covid-19 infections.


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