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Special Sabah package to boost tourism
Published on: Monday, February 24, 2020
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Kota Kinabalu: Sabah will announce a special economic package this week to help stimulate its tourism sector, which has been badly hit by the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the State Government had discussed the matter with the Federal Government to include specific packages to boost Sabah’s tourism industry.

He said they also discussed the matter with Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng as Sabah’s economy relied heavily on tourism, which is the State’s third biggest revenue source.

“The impact and implications on Sabah is big, unlike other states. We need to take firm action and put in place a stimulus to help the industry,” he said.

It is learnt that Sabah’s tourism industry is losing tens of millions in ringgit in revenue since the Covid-19 outbreak hit industry players, particularly focusing on China tourists.

This follows after the State Government on Jan 30 barred Chinese nationals to fly directly into the State in a bid the check the spread of the deadly virus.

The State Government later extended the move to stop the entry of non-Sabahans who had visited China in the last 14 days.

Tourism players, including hotels, have been reporting cancellations and drop in bookings from 50pc to 70pc.

According to Shafie, the State Government was pushing for domestic tourism and for more tourists from neighbouring countries, including Brunei, as part of measures to boost the industry.

He said the State Government is also encouraging hotels to bring down rates in a bid to attract locals.

He said Sabah also hopes to be the venue for major events, including Apec that is scheduled for November this year, among several other international events would help boost the local economy.

A major local mall in the city here halved its rental for its existing clients from Feb 1 to March 31 as efforts to help the tenants who are seeing a severe drop in tourists who patronised the mall.

Some major resorts and hotels are also offering special rates for locals while popular restaurants have also dropped their prices.


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