Sabah reopens domestic tourism, seeks flights from peninsula

Airlines have been asked to increase flights into Sabah, especially to the Kota Kinabalu airport, from the peninsula.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah today allowed the reopening of domestic tourism within the state, air transport and auto sales as it reopened economic activities under Phase 5 of the movement control order (MCO).

Recreational activities, sports and inter-district travel are also allowed under the new ruling, Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal said today.

Hotel accommodation, adventures, hot spots, food and beverage, ticketing service, transportation and other related activities would also be allowed with the opening of domestic tourism.

“However, the gymnasium, spa lounge, swimming pools, meeting rooms, seminar halls, training rooms and buffet facilities at hotels will remain closed,” he said here today.

Shafie also urged airline companies to increase the number of flights from Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Penang, Kota Bahru, Alor Setar, Kuching, Miri, Bintulu to Kota Kinabalu, as well as inter-district flights.

Shafie said cultural and arts activities are also allowed now, with no more than 10 participants, in view of the upcoming Aidilfitri and Kaamatan festivals.

He also announced the opening of state parks and sanctuaries run by Sabah Parks and private companies, adding that swiftlet farming, issuance of permits and licences for wildlife are allowed.

Tourism is the only economic sector being controlled fully by locals, unlike other sectors like oil palm and construction, which are heavily dependent on migrant workers.

Shafie also said non-contact sports and recreational health activities are allowed. They include all team sports, with not more than 10 people in a group.

The Semporna MP said all basic and professional services, such as lawyers, engineering, surveyors and pharmacists, would also be allowed to reopen their businesses from today, together with sales of vehicles.

“It is our hope that all those in these sectors would always adhere to the health protocols set by the health ministry and authorities.”

Shafie said inter-district travel is also allowed now but reminded travellers to practise social distancing at all times, wear face masks and use sanitisers.

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