Prepare to handle any crisis, Sabah deputy CM tells tourism operators

Sabah Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Assaffal P Alian (second from left) handing a certificate to one of the workshop participants.

KOTA KINABALU: The increased number of tourists visiting Sabah means industry players must be well prepared to handle any crisis arising, said Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew.

Liew, who is also tourism, culture and environment minister, said the state recorded more than one million tourist arrivals during the first quarter of this year, an increase of 9.1% compared with the same period last year.

“This means it is crucial for tourism industry players in the state to be well-prepared and equipped to handle any kind of crisis developing.

“Cooperation and good coordination among all parties involved is also equally important.

“When we are able to manage a crisis well, we will be able to show that we are a responsible and reliable destination to our visitors,” she said when closing the two-day Risk Mitigation and Crisis Recovery Management Workshop organised by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (Pata) here today.

Her speech was read by her assistant minister, Assaffal P Alian.

Liew thanked Pata for helping the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) in organising the first-ever crisis management workshop, tailored specifically for the travel and tourism industry.

She hoped Pata, together with STB, would continue to organise similar courses in future for those unable to attend today’s workshop.

The workshop, which is part of Pata’s human capacity building programme, was participated by 40 travel industry professionals from various states in Malaysia, as well as from Brunei Darussalam.

The two-day intensive workshop provides key insights into how organisations can prepare for the risks that can potentially evolve into crises.

Participants will undergo an interactive training programme that incorporates a series of classroom sessions conducted by leading travel industry experts, coupled with practical activities, group assignments and networking opportunities.

The programme was led by Dr Bert van Walbeek of The Winning Edge, Thailand, and John Bailey, managing consultant of Crisis Communications Consulting, Singapore.

In his speech, Pata CEO Mario Hardy, said unforeseen events were happening around the world. These often affect tourism and, quite often, the people were not prepared for them.

Therefore, he said it was crucial for industry players to learn key skills to prepare themselves for times of crisis.

“The question is not about whether you will have another crisis — it’s a question of when it will happen.”