KUCHING, Sept 18 ― Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah hopes that the tourism bubble initiative could be implemented in Sarawak, following the move taken for Langkawi.

He said his ministry together with the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and the Sarawak Business Events (BESarawak) have many tourism programmes and products that should have been announced in early March, but had to be put on the backburner due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He added that these programmes and products would be announced soon, upon the reopening of the “tourism gates”.

“When the tourism sector will open, I cannot announce. (we’d have to) wait until the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) makes a new announcement to launch our products, including the ‘Sia Sitok’ Programme,” he said at a press conference after the launch of Sarawak Amateur Tenpin Bowling Association (ABAS) / Sarawak Sports Corporation (SSC) Phase 1 ‘Tenpin Bowling Sports Hub’ at Megalanes Sarawak in Batu Kawa near here yesterday, where Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Sarawak, Datuk Snowdan Lawan, and ABAS president Sunny Si were also present.

Abdul Karim said the “Langkawi Tourism Bubble”, which kicked off on Thursday, signified the people’s excitement and anticipation over returning to travel after being in a prolonged lockdown.

Therefore, he said if the tourism bubble started in Langkawi for Peninsular Malaysia, he hoped that the same initiative could be implemented in Sarawak, with Mulu and Niah being amongst the potential destinations.

“I believe the federal Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri would consider implementing this initiative in Sarawak.

“If this tourism bubble is implemented in Sarawak, I believe the same standard operating procedures (SOP) would be applied as those used in Langkawi,” he added, observing that the tourism bubble initiative in Langkawi would be a yardstick for the government to open up more tourist destinations nationwide in the future. ― Borneo Post