Minister optimistic about early reopening of tourism industry

Abdul Karim and Nancy. Photo: Ghazali Bujang

KUCHING: Federal Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri is optimistic that the tourism industry in the country will reopen as early as September.

“However, this is subject to the standard operating procedure (SOP) compliance,” she said after visiting the first Tourism Sector Industrial Covid-19 Vaccination Centre (PPVI) at the Association of Churches Sarawak building, Jalan Stampin here on Friday (June 25).

“So, we hope that the number of Covid-19 cases will continue to go down and once this happens, it gives more confidence.”

She added that that was why the ministry was working with counterparts in the state and other agencies to set up the PPVI to vaccinate as many tourism industry players to prepare for reopening.

“The vaccination programme is one of the short term strategies to build confidence among the people. Although it is not guaranteed that you won’t be infected, but the degree of it is not as bad when you are not vaccinated at all.”

Meanwhile, Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said while the borders had yet to be reopened, the local tourism industry needed to carry on.

“Despite the movement control order (MCO), we recently managed to hold the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) and soon the Borneo Jazz Festival virtually as well as other domestic tourism packages.

“The tourism industry has got to move so that when the door (borders) is open, the whole thing (sector) will pick up.”

Abdul Karim said he was looking forward to welcoming tourists from outside the country and hoped that the Covid-19 situation would completely subside by the end of the year.