Sabah tourism players having sleepless nights
Published on: Wednesday, February 19, 2020
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KOTA KINABALU: The sight of nearly empty shopping malls and seafood restaurants in the state capital is causing sleepless nights among tourism players.

With no sign of the Covid-19 outbreak easing off, some players were forced to take cost-cutting measures to stay afloat.

Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents president Datuk Seri Winston Liaw said tourism players in the state saw a 90pc reduction in business.

“Since flights from China were halted on Jan 30, things have been going downhill for the various industries in the state, including tourism. Those in supporting sectors such as seafood restaurants and souvenir shops are also seeing similar trends.

“From our understanding, many employers are giving their workers half-month salaries as they try to stay afloat and keep workers employed, ” he said, adding that most of the affected players were in Kota Kinabalu and Semporna.

He added that even the Korean market was slowing down after the South Korean government issued a travel advisory on Malaysia recently.“Tourists can still come to Sabah as there have been no positive case in the state, ” he said.

Liaw also said that to mitigate the situation, they were working at bringing in more tourists from Europe and other western countries.Meanwhile, Sheila Chong from Multiclients Travel Sdn Bhd felt that the travel ban on China flights should not have occurred so abruptly as the move not only caused them great losses but also cost them their clients’ trust.

“Of course, we could search for alternatives and find newer market sectors during this troubled times but it would take months or even years to get back the kind of clientele we had, ” she said. – The Star


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