Tourists arriving at Nature Lodge Kinabatangan

Kinabatangan Corridor of Life Tourism Operator Association (KiTA) will be setting aside RM200,000 derived from their volunteering conservation levy to resume their operations in mid-June after locking down in March to adhere the movement control order imposed by the government to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

Its president, Alexander Yee said KiTA has put in place strict standard operating procedures (SOP) in line with the guidelines of Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation.

He added the member lodges are ready to kick start tourism activities in Kinabatangan as they are now waiting for the green light from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment and the Sandakan Municipal Council.

“KiTA has also formulated several activities such as hygiene re-branding of member lodges, frontliners appreciation stay programme and also a “Welcome Back to Kinabatangan” promotional video by August. It was produced by Sandakan based videographer, Cede Prudente,” he said.

All KiTA member lodges will carry a KiTA logo with a tagline “Safe, Trustworthy,  Responsible.” KiTA will form a sub-committee to self-audit the members something that has been done before for Sustainable Practices of KiTA member lodges.

Trustfully, with the new SOPs and branding in place, KiTA member lodges will be seen as “green zone lodges” and will give confidence for tourists to visit.

Before that, Alexander will be leading KiTA members to pay a courtesy call on Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew to brief her on KiTA’s strategies and plans as well as to seek the Ministry to match the amount of RM200,000 set aside by KiTA in order to revive tourism of Kinabatangan.

KiTA member lodges alone contribute about RM50 millions of tourism revenue to the area yearly.

It is vital that Kinabatangan leads the revival of tourism activities in the east coast of Sabah as tourists coming to Kinabatangan often enter via Sandakan and also visit surrounding areas such as Sepilok, Tabin and Danum Valley. The estimated value of these tourism activities is said to be RM140-180 million yearly.

Meanwhile, KiTA will be sponsoring 200 frontliners to visit their member lodges as their token of appreciation for their sacrifices during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Before that, KiTA has also handed over 200 masks and three bottles of hand sanitizers to the Sandakan Media Association.-HS

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