Sabah Tourism Stakeholders Call for More Financial Aid in 2023 Budget
Published on: Saturday, September 24, 2022
By: FMT, Willie Jude
Sabah hopes to regain its status as one of the biggest contributors to the country’s tourism industry. (photo from the Bernama file)
Kota Kinabalu: Tourism entrepreneurs in Sabah hope the 2023 budget will see bigger allocations for tourism and another moratorium on loans to help struggling tour operators and tour operators. Sabah Tourism Association President Tony Chew said with tourism back to normal around the world, it is time to boost the growth of the sector here. He added that Sabah also hopes to regain its status as one of the biggest contributors to the country’s tourism industry. However, to achieve this, Chew said industry players need financial assistance in the form of “friendly” loans.
“What’s the point of reopening borders and allowing tourists to come in if these tour operators and related businesses can’t provide their services because they don’t have the funds, for example, to hire more people or renew permits and the insurance?” he said. The tourism industry has been one of the hardest hit by travel restrictions imposed during the pandemic. Chew called on the government to provide a large sum of money to help the tourism industry, saying it would pay big dividends in the long run. “The whole world will travel again, so the money spent by the government will definitely be recouped. It’s a win-win situation for the government and the tourism sector,” he said. not for the government to spoon-feed us, but we need more help to get back to the levels we were at before the pandemic.” Meanwhile, the president of the Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies of Sabah, Winston Liaw, said he believed providing incentives and subsidies to industry players would do more for the sector than large allocations for tourism promotion.
He added that the state should focus on attracting high-income tourists, especially foreigners interested in the health and wellness aspect of tourism. Meanwhile, on the issue of loan moratoriums, Liaw hopes the government will extend them by six months for players in the tourism industry. According to Liaw, only 30% of Sabah’s tourism industry players have recovered from the pandemic. He said that although tour operators are back in business, he said many players are struggling to stay afloat. “It’s because banks are pressuring industry players to repay the loans, and they’re unable to do so due to many other commitments,” he said. “This year is actually a lot tougher than 2020 and 2021.” The 2023 budget will be tabled on October 7. * Follow us on Instagram and join our Telegram and/or WhatsApp channels for the latest news you don’t want to miss.
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