A diver’s paradise and famed for its jungle getaways, Sabah is an East Malaysian state in the region of Borneo that’s home to a diverse array of tropical islands, and shielded from the elements by the South China, Sulu, and Celebes Sea. As the state enters Phase 4 of the National Recovery Plan, Sabah will allow visitors who have been fully vaccinated to enter the state without having to undergo COVID-19 screening, beginning 1 December.
Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor said that the state is ready to welcome visitors by providing unique and appealing tourist destinations, and that the tourism sector might be revitalised if standard operating procedures were strictly followed.
Whenever Malaysia reopens its borders next year, Sabah will be completely prepared to receive international visitors.
He said that by November 2021, there will be 266 weekly direct flights into Sabah, with a total capacity of 43,000 seats, from Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Penang, Kota Bharu, Labuan, and Sarawak, 123 weekly flights linking Kota Kinabalu, Lahad Datu, Sandakan, and Tawau inside Sabah, with a total capacity of 16,720 seats.
Last month, Datuk Masidi Manjun, the state’s local government and housing minister, announced that fully vaccinated people entering Sabah would no longer be required to go through quarantine unless they were coming from another country. Travellers who were completely vaccinated were nevertheless required to have swab tests three days prior to arrival.
With the completion of 11 new hotel developments in 2022, Hajiji estimates that an additional 3,506 rooms will be available.
Simultaneously, he stated that the Sabah State Government has launched the Sabah Tourism Recovery Plan for domestic and international segments in order to strengthen tourism promotion, including market shifting during the pandemic.
The Sabah Tourist Board (STB) has partnered with tourism industry partners to hold virtual engagements, travel expos, promotion, and training on destination updates.
Many nations, including China, Norway, Indonesia, Brunei, India, Dubai, Kazakhstan, and Turkey are involved in re-establishing commercial and tourism confidence through business-to-business and government-to-government relations.
STB is also also working with airlines to help them re-establish direct flights for local and international travel.