RTBA Malaysia: Sarawak on track to reopen and thrive in tourism sector

BEING on-track and on-point in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic within the state has made Sarawak well-placed to open its domestic tourism within this year.

Moreover, the tourism sector in Sarawak has remained persistent and resilient throughout the pandemic by implementing various initiatives to ensure frontliners in the tourism industry are vaccinated and ready to receive tourists.

Such is the observation of the Retail and Trade Brands Advocacy Malaysia Chapter (RTBA Malaysia), a non-governmental organisation for advocating effective regulatory, financial and taxation policies affecting retailers and brand.

“Every nation has had to face multiple challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic leaving devastating impact on global and regional economies,” commented RTBA Malaysia’s managing director Datuk Fazli Nordin.

Fazli Nordin

“However, with the vigilance and the watchfulness of the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) and the collective understanding of Sarawakians, the state has been able to weather the storm, in comparison to other parts of the world.”

According to Fazli, the reopening of Sarawak borders for fully vaccinated individuals demonstrates the effectiveness of the measures implemented by the state as well as further solidifying the state’s commitment to manage the pandemic.”

“All these efforts will soon help the state achieve its herd immunity goals while allowing Sarawak to work towards establishing itself as a safe ‘green travel bubble’ destination,” he pointed out.

As of Sept 23, 64.8% of Sarawak’s total population have been fully vaccinated, including tourism frontliners which is in line with Malaysia’s National Recovery Plan (NRP) to steer the country to 100% herd immunity.

Sarawak is also the first state to be rolling out vaccinations for its adolescent population aged from 12 to 17.

“This puts Sarawak very much ahead in its vaccination status. Moreover, the use of EnterSarawak, an online travel application to enter Sarawak, the vaccination certificate through MySejahtera as well as filling out an e-Health Declaration Form (eHDF) online will certainly boost travellers’ confidence when tourism reopens,” projected Fazli.

“RTBA strongly believes that the state is poised to be the leading destination for eco-tourism in the ASEAN region, driven by empowered communities to conserve heritage, culture and biodiversity. We should leverage on these opportunities as the initiatives put in place today will shape the tourism of tomorrow.”

Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah has revealed in March that visitor arrivals to Sarawak dropped 74% from 4,66 million in 2019 to 1.2 million in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic while the tourism receipts in 2020 declined 75% from 2019 to just RM2.88 bil with an estimated loss of RM8.69 bil. – Sept 27, 2021

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