KUANTAN, Sept 22 — The Pahang government has set up the Tioman Task Force comprising various agencies and departments to monitor and enforce standard operating procedure (SOP) compliance when the tourism sector in Pulau Tioman reopens on Oct 1.
State Tourism, Culture, Environment, Plantation and Commodity Committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsuddin said the task force is chaired by the Rompin District Officer and has six committees, namely pandemic, security, entry point control, tourism, urban beautification and community.
For example, the pandemic aspect is handled by the District Health Office (PKD) and Rompin Hospital, Marine Department, Fisheries Department, Immigration, police, Customs, Malaysian Civil Defence Force for entry control.
The Tioman Development Authority (TDA), Tourism Pahang and Tioman Island, Tourism Entrepreneurs Association are responsible for the tourism aspect.
“PKD will handle cluster management if there are more than five positive COVID-19 cases in one premises, besides conducting outbreak control and risk assessment and, if necessary, issue premises closure and sanitisation orders,” he said in a press conference at his office here today.
Mohd Sharkar said the state government also suggested that tourists be allowed to only board ferries at Teluk Gading jetty (previously known as Tanjung Gemok) in Rompin, and not from Mersing, Johor, which is also an entry point to Pulau Tioman, to facilitate COVID-19 screening and inspection.
Tourists can purchase self-test kits at the jetty or elsewhere, but testing must be done at the jetty terminal. Those who test positive will be taken to the COVID-19 Assessment Centre (CAC) before being sent to Rompin Hospital or the nearest COVID-19 Low-Risk Quarantine and Treatment Centre (PKRC).
Apart from beach activities, water sports, surface and scuba diving, Mohd Sharkar said other activities that are allowed are fishing, sailing, cycling, camping, mountaineering and academic visits to Taman Laut.
“We are thankful to the federal government and National Security Council (MKN) for choosing Pulau Tioman as one of the early destinations to be reopened as 90 per cent of the island’s population is completely dependent on tourism,” he said.
Pulau Tioman has 103 hotels and homestays offering 1,821 rooms, 88 boat operators, 30 dive centres, and the island received 276,232 tourists, including 86,257 foreign tourists, in 2019 before the pandemic hit the country.
In this regard, Mohd Sharkar hoped that the federal government and MKN could consider allowing more resort islands on the East Coast and other tourist attractions in Pahang to reopen to help the locals after taking into account that they have achieved immunity herd through COVID-19 vaccination.
He said 2,200 residents on Pulau Tioman are fully vaccinated.