KOTA KINABALU, April 22 — Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri today said that apart from Singapore, Malaysia has identified other countries to form agreements for a “travel bubble” once international borders open.

“Motac has been in talks with the Home Ministry, Health Ministry, the National Security Council and Wisma Putra.

“We have been identifying a few countries for us to start travel bubbles with,” she said today during her visit here for the launch of the national tourism policy.

Nancy said that although the ministry has been working with other countries, it was not up to them to decide on when borders can open for tourism.

“We still have to wait until it is safe to open borders. It’s not just a question of tourism — there is a lot to consider and we have to be cautious. But the SOPs are ready. Just waiting for the borders to open,” she said.

She said in the case of Singapore, the government is looking at opening borders as soon as possible, but both countries decided to put plans on hold due to the spike in Covid 19 cases.

Sabah’s Tourism, Culture and Environment permanent secretary Jamili Nais said that Sabah on its own has been preparing for a travel bubble with Singapore, as well as China but also needs the federal government to agree to open its borders before it can be pursued.

“We are looking not just at Singapore — but others like China. Another word for it is isolated travel — where they can come here via chartered flights and be ferried door to door so they will be in some isolation. But this is still in discussion and depends on borders opening,” said Jamili.

Nancy said her ministry is aware of the RM100 billion in losses from tourism and an 83.4 per cent drop in tourist arrivals and are working on several strategies to help keep them afloat.

“We are working on proposing niche tourism activities like golf, diving, deep-sea fishing. We are not giving up. We have to propose this again because it was rejected before but we are not giving up,” she said.