Early preparations for endemic phase lauded

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

KUCHING: A move by the federal Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry to urge business operators in the tourism industry to prepare for the endemic phase of the pandemic has been lauded.

State Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said this move was in line with the proposed reopening of tourist spots after 90 percent of the country’s population has been vaccinated.

“We fully support the call of the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) which has asked tourism and culture players to make early preparations ahead of the national plan to enter the endemic phase.

“This initial preparation is important in terms of compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs) and new norms,” he said in a Facebook post on Friday (Sept 24).

Abdul Karim said the announcement is also a positive indication that the country’s tourism industry is on track to recover, driven by domestic tourism activities.

At the same time, he echoed the federal Ministry’s call for all parties to cooperate to ensure that the tourism and culture industry grows again.

“Strong support from industry players is essential to ensure that the industry is back on track, in line with the Tourism Recovery Plan which was carefully compiled in July last year.

“Thankfully with tourism activities revived, employment and income problems for those in this industry chain, which have been severely affected since last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will be overcome,” he said.

On Wednesday (Sept 22), Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said interstate travel and the reopening of other tourist destinations will be allowed after 90 percent of the country’s adult population has been fully inoculated.

He said this is irrespective of those located on the islands and on the mainland, adding that the easing of such restrictions is also subjected to data and analysis conducted by the Health Ministry.

“With the easing of restrictions, the government calls on the people to benefit from the privileges with full discipline and a sense of responsibility.

“Comply with the standard operating procedures (SOP) on Covid-19 prevention, wear a face mask, practise physical distancing and continue to maintain cleanliness under the new norms,” he said.