Sarawak tourism players persuading for vaccine passport

By TIN Media | Sarawak Published 1 year ago on 25 February 2021
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For travellers who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 to improve the state tourism industry, the mandatory quarantine provision upon entry to Sarawak should be checked, says the Sarawak Tourism Federation.

Inbound agents were receiving multiple inquiries from their counterparts in Europe and other countries where the vaccine had been rolled out, said its president, Audry Wan Ullok.

But as long as the 14-day quarantine is still implemented and borders are closed, a lot of information can not be disseminated.

I think the state government needs to look very seriously at this to get tourism back on its feet again," she said .

Currently, all travelers entering the state must stay for 14 days upon arrival at a quarantine center and have a swab test performed on the second and 10th days.

Audry said tourism was one of the worst-hit markets, with tourist arrivals falling to just over a million people by 74% last year.

A big drop from RM11.57bil in 2019 to RM2.88bil last year was also reported in tourism receipts.

She said the state tourism players wanted to know if Sarawak will consider introducing a travel bubble or vaccine passport with Covid-19 vaccination now ongoing in many countries, including Malaysia.

People in certain countries will obtain a special passport to fly overseas, avoid quarantine after vaccination and have access to cultural activities and restaurants. Could we think it?

Having said that, however, even though people are vaccinated, it does not prohibit them from carrying the virus. If these people were to go inside, we have to ensure that our people are safe as well, so it's a complicated situation,' she said.

Fellow panelist Datuk Abang Helmi Ikhwan, Chairman of the Chambers of Entrepreneurs Sarawak Bumiputera, called for health visas to be issued to travelers who had been vaccinated to initiate the recovery of tourism.

He said state tourism players were suffering from a shortage of tourists, while since the pandemic began, hotel occupancy was below 15 percent on average.

Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian, State Local Government and Housing Minister, who also spoke at the webinar, said the State Disaster Management Committee would look into the concept of a travel bubble or passport for vaccinations.



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