Reopen Door To China Tourists, Public Health Our Priority – Christina Liew

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will not compromise on the people’s health as it reopens its doors to Chinese tourists, among others, beginning next month.

Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Christina Liew gave the assurance when met by reporters at the 2023 Chinese New Year lunch gathering hosted by the Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) at Hakka Hall, Tanjung Lipat on Monday (Jan 23).

“We are trying our best to ensure safety comes first even though we woo tourists from other countries in an effort to revive the industry.

“Health comes first. I was talking to the State Minister in charge of health matters just now.

“He will be meeting with me to discuss policies that we can implement together in welcoming domestic and international tourists to Sabah.

“There will be rules on the necessary precautions for implementation through travel agencies and tour operators,” she said.

That move will also cover the operations of tour guides, logistics providers, transporters, restaurateurs, souvenir shops, public parks and tourist spots, the Api Api Assemblywoman added.

Responding to a reporter’s question on unlicensed camping sites such as the Batang Kali landslide that claimed 31 lives in December last year, Liew said she would discuss preventive measures with Sabah Parks.

“I will have a meeting with the Director of Sabah Parks. I would advise the authorities to advise owners of holiday sites that are not properly licensed to do the right thing.

“We need to work on this aspect because we don’t want that (Batang Kali landslide) to happen in Sabah. It will cost the lives of others, and hurt the tourism industry,” she said.

The Minister also touched on the importance of diving safety, citing the tragedy off Semporna where two Chinese tourists and a divemaster were believed to have been killed by fish bombing activities there in 2019.