Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg

KUCHING: The state’s tourism industry will take some time to recover from the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said there is bound to be unemployment in the sector, prompting a shift in the state’s economic policy to create new jobs.

“In the new environment, we will have to restructure and reorganise our approach in terms of our economic agenda, in a way that it will give benefit to the people.

“This however cannot be done by the government alone, and that is why we need inputs from the experts,” he told a media conference yesterday.

Earlier, the chief minister announced the formation of the state’s Economic Action Council (EAC), comprising of nine subcommittees assigned to nine economic thrusts in the state’s Covid-19 economic exit plan.

The tourism sector warrants its own subcommittee and will comprise of members from the public and private sectors along with academics.

Abang Johari stressed that great efforts have to be initiated to build up tourists’ confidence and airlines to resume their operation.

“We will intensify our efforts to develop this sector through product developments, and key initiatives would include diversification into other tourism products,” he said.

He added that beyond leisure, other forms of tourism such as medical, sports, education and home-grown events could be developed.

“Sarawak’s natural endowments such as resorts, caves, natural lakes, national parks, rivers and mountains will be given added emphasis for tourism activities,” he said.