KOTA KINABALU, Dec 10 — The government’s move in allowing the entry of tourists from Brunei into Sabah will expedite the recovery of the state’s tourism industry which is badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, said State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Jafry Ariffin.
Jafry said he is confident Sabah tourism industry operators are prepared to receive domestic visitors and foreign tourists from Brunei by getting ready various stipulated health and safety protocol and procedures.
“According to Sabah tourism statistics, the number of tourists from Brunei rose from 56,259 in 2018 to 78,605 last year. The reopening of borders is bound to hasten the recovery of the tourism industry from the impact of COVID-19,” he said in statement today.
Yesterday, State Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun announced the National Security Council has agreed with the proposal of the state government to allow tourists from Brunei to enter Sabah.
Masidi said tourists are allowed to enter by land or air subject to undergoing COVID-19 screening as stipulated in the standard operating procedure (SOP) of Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) in Sabah.
Commenting further, Jafry said the decision was taken after the neighbouring country did not record any positive COVID-19 cases in the past seven months and is categorised as a green country.
In this regard, local residents are urged to take the opportunity to go for weekend holidays in the country especially in Sabah to stimulate the domestic tourism economy, he said.