Domestic Tourism Shows Signs Of Recovery

KOTA KINABALU: Domestic tourism which resumed last month is already beginning to pick up in the state.

The hint of recovery comes after a three-month shutdown to control the spread of Covid-19 which, sadly, brought the robust industry to its knees.

Sabah Parks Director Dr Maklarin Lakim said the momentum was now growing with an increasing number of visitors to Kinabalu Park, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Crocker Range Park,Tun Sakaran Marine Park, Pulau Sipadan Park, Pulau Tiga Park, Turtle

Islands Park, Tawau Hills Park and Tun Mustapha Marine Park.

“Between June 22 and July 19, we received a total of 18,778

visitors under the recovery period of the Movement Control Order,” he said.

“The most popular destination is Kinabalu Park visited by some

8,565 people, followed by Tunku Abdul Rahman Park with 3,163 visitors and Tawau Hills Park (2,243).”

He said this during a post Cabinet meeting chaired by Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Christina Liew and attended by ministry officials and heads of departments and agencies.

Sabah Tourism Board (STB) General Manager, Noredah

Othman, told the meeting that some 43 tour operators, tour and travel agents from the peninsula were currently on a familiarisation trip to the east coast.

Various tourism attractions, dive resorts and other accommodation have been offering special deals in an effort to jump-start the industry after the long lay-off.

Sabah is due to reopen its doors to international visitors only from Sept 1.

In another development Liew announced at the meeting that the

deadline to apply for the government’s tourism development grant has been extended to the end of August.

“I encourage more tourism players (registered homestay operators and budget hotels) to avail themselves of this opportunity to upgrade their facilities.

“Each applicant may apply for a maximum sum of RM20,000,” she said.

According to Liew, who is also Deputy Chief Minister, only 100

applications have been received as of July 24.

The RM20,000 fund is part of a special RM10 million grant for the

upgrading of tourism infrastructure (homestay facilities and community-based tourism products) under the Sabah New Deal stimulus package announced by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal in June.