KUCHING, Feb 9 ― Sarawak medical tourism industry is set to benefit from the reopening of the international borders proposed by next month as the industry could look forward to regaining revenues that it enjoyed before the Covid-19 pandemic.
State Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the Association of Private Hospital Malaysia (APHM) had reported that medical tourism had contributed RM1.7 billion in 2019.
“The promising revenue stream from this sector had encouraged the establishments of private medical institutions and hospitals in Kuching, Sibu, Miri and Bintulu,” he said in a statement today.
He was responding to the recommendations by the National Recovery Council to reopen the international borders as early as March 1 as announced by the council’s chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday.
Abdul Karim said Sarawak was not spared and had lost billions from revenue streams from the tourism and hospitality industry which in the past years had contributed to the local economy and the livelihood of those working in the downstream industry.
Abdul Karim said the proposed reopening of the international borders that include non-mandatory quarantine for visitors could hasten the National Recovery Plan (NRP) and boost Sarawak’s Post Covid-19 Development Strategy 2030 (PCDS2030) implementation.
He said to facilitate the reopening of our borders, potential visitors would need to be made aware of the need to strictly adhere to all standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the Health Ministry and Sarawak’s State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) before their entries application could be accepted.
“There must be concerted efforts by the industry players concerned to ensure only fully vaccinated tourists and visitors with the booster dose (are allowed entry) where the risks of Covid-19 infections are mitigated and avoided,” he added. ― Bernama