KOTA KINABALU: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Sabah Chapter) warned that many tour operators could face winding up before end of the year because the federal government COVID-19 wage subsidy programme have not directly assisted them.

Its chairman, Lawrence Chin (pix) pointed out most of the tour owners has zero revenue since March 2020 due to the movement control order to curb the spread of global COVID-19 pandemic.

“We hoped the Sabah Government will help the 550 plus MATTA Sabah travel agents through grant or direct subsidy as most of us has zero revenue since March 2020 due to the travel restrictions,” Chin appealed.

He also lauded the Sabah New Deal launched by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal on Thursday to revive the badly affected state’s economy due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Tourism sector was one of the eight deals unveiled which saw an allocation of RM5 million as incentives to promote the local hotel industry and an allocation of RM10 million to upgrade the tourism facilities.

To boosts domestic tourism, a 50 per cent discount or RM7 million is also applied on entry fees at all state-run tourism destinations such as Sabah Parks, Sabah Art Gallery and the Sabah Cultural Board for six months.

“This will definitely help to provide an incentive for hotel to push for MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions), improving the tourism infrastructure such as toilets in tourism hotpots and other facilities.

“The reduction of Sabah Parks entrance fees will encourage more local visitors. Therefore good for the tourism industry,” Chin noted.-HS

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