Private Stakeholders’ Views Vital to The Recovery of Sabah Tourism

KOTA KINABALU: The ideas and proposals of private stakeholders are critical to revitalising Sabah’s tourism industry, said state Tourism, Culture, and Environment Assistant Minister Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.

Joniston said the state government is open to receiving proposals and will evaluate them for further study to ensure greater tourism success in the industry.

“We need to understand each other. There are numerous requests, but the government has limitations as well. What matters is that we come up to a consensus.

“If there’s a need for us to make a recommendation to the Federal government for the tourism industry in Sabah, let us do it together,” he said at the Engagement Session With Tourism Players For 2022 here, on Monday.

Joniston, who is also chairman of the Sabah Tourism Board (STB), stated that the recent decision to lift the mandatory swab test for fully vaccinated visitors to Sabah was an example of a good understanding between industry players and state government.

AirAsia, Malaysia Airlines and the Malaysia Association of Travel and Tours Agent (MATTA) made the proposal last month and it was duly brought to the attention of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

“The Chief Minister thought it was a good idea and discussed it further with the state secretary. When the industry players make recommendations, we present them to the state government with justification and reasoning.

“This is an example of how we can try to better understand and collaborate on each other’s needs. We hope that through this engagement session, we can come together to revive strategy to bring tourism back into the mainstream while instilling responsible practices for the industry,” he said.

The objective of the engagement session is based on the four pillars: Building consumer’s confidence; Supporting the industry; Rebuilding connectivity; and Enhancing potential segments.

These four pillars are the guideline towards Sabah’s tourism recovery, which was unanimously agreed during the Tourism Recovery Committee meeting held by STB with the presence of the state’s key tourism industry players in August this year.

“The formulation of this roadmap is parallel with the concept set out by the government that is the 3R: Recovery, Revitilaise, and Reform.

“It is our desire that, through this engagement, we could identify impactful initiatives and prioritize the initiatives that can add the most value for our tourism industry, especially how to pivot back in the new normal.

“Therefore, I urge the industry pkayers to be open in contributing ideas, reccomendations, or suggestions so that we can all have a fruitful and beneficial outcome,” said Joniston.

He also encouraged all tourism industry players to continue coming up with new ideas revolving around digital innovations and collaboration.

Present at the engagement were Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry Deputy Permanent Secretary II Mary Malangking, STB Chief Executive Officer Noredah Othman, STB Chief Financial Officer Julinus Jimit and STB Chief Marketing Officer Tay Shu Lan (郑素莲).