Friday, March 15, 2013

ESSCOM: Confidence boost for Sabah tourism operators and tourists

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah tourism fraternity has lauded the federal government on measures it has taken to guarantee the security of Sabah and its people and to ensure visitors too feel doubly safe and secure.

“The decision to create the Special Security Area which is now known as the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) will no doubt help to solve the perennial problems of illegal entry and smuggling activities along Sabah’s 1,400 km eastern coastline,” said Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Masidi Manjun in a statement yesterday.

“Obviously ESSCOM will further boost the confidence of tourists and beach/island tourism operators that their wellbeing and safety is the top priority of the government despite the fact that Sabah has all along enjoyed peace and stability,” he said.

Masidi said the announcement by the Home Minister and the police on the establishment or upgrading of police stations in strategic locations is a boon to the tourism industry in Sabah.

“It is a proactive measure by the police to ensure the wellbeing of citizens and tourists alike in their effort to improve and manage public security in all parts of Sabah,” he said.

While not denying that the event in Lahad Datu for the last few weeks has some impact on the tourism industry in Sabah, Masidi said the issues of perception and rumours do effect the tourists’ decision whether or not to travel to Sabah.

Nevertheless, he reiterated that Sabah is a safe place to visit as had been said by many leaders and the police.

“As of today only 3 primary schools in Lahad Datu are still closed because they are situated within the area where mopping-up operations are in progress.

“The area in question is in an isolated village which is over 140 km from the town of Lahad Datu and not within the tourism belt of Sabah,” he said.

“I have gone to Lahad Datu a few days ago to personally observe the situation there. I have found that the people there are going on with their normal life,” he added.

Masidi urged all Sabahans especially those in the tourism industry to go on with their business as usual.