KUCHING: Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Sarawak Chapter supports the state government’s move to impose a ban on all China tourists from entering the state to prevent the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus in the state, said its chairman Lina Tsen Pei Tsin.
“Yes, we support the state government in banning Chinese tourists from coming into the state for safety reasons. It is not just us being affected, but it is a global thing.
“We hope that this virus will be contained so that people are safe to go anywhere they want,” she said when met by reporters at the launch of Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020) stickers on tour buses and coaches at the foyer of Kuching City South Council (MBKS) today.
The event was launched by MBKS mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng, who represented Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture Sarawak, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
Tsen said the effect of the novel coronavirus on Sarawak’s travel industry is marginal because most of the tourists are from Canada, Europe and the US.
“Tourists coming to Sarawak are mostly Canadians, Europeans and Americans, including those coming in using cruise liners. They are inclined to Borneo island as a whole and they are into culture and arts.
“We hope we are able to tap the Chinese market but what we have is only a handful unlike Sabah, where the Chinese market is booming,” she explained.
Tsen pointed out that the reason why travel industry players here do not consider China a big pat of their market segment was due to an insufficient number of direct flights from China to Kuching.
“Actually, for inbound flights, we do not have direct flights to and from China. We used to have flights from Shenzhen to Kuching but it has stopped due to poor passenger load,” she said.