Media, Travel

Sabah to look at opening border for Chinese tourists post Covid-19

Issued by Sabah Tourism, Culture, and Environment Ministry

KOTA KINABALU (Sabah, Malaysia), 11 JULY 2020: Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew is upbeat about the possibility of reopening the shores of Sabah to international tourists from China for a start post-Covid-19.

Her enthusiasm stemmed from China’s announcement that it was considering
opening its borders to certain “green” countries for inbound and outbound tourism.

“The good news is that the ‘green’ countries include Malaysia. Once the Chinese travellers are allowed to come to Malaysia, it goes without saying
that they can come to Sabah.

“Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu, His Excellency Liang Caide informed me that China will resume the Hangzhou-Kuala Lumpur air route soon.

“They are planning to reopen the Hangzhou International Airport, and have identified six routes that include Hangzhou to Kuala Lumpur by Air Asia X,” she said after a recent meeting with the Consul-General.

Christina Liew and Liang Ciade

In their discussion, Liew, who is also Minister of Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment, and Liang tried to map out the provinces in China that they might like to explore for the Chinese people to visit Sabah as tourists.

“After four months of business closure, we have a positive outlook on the outcome in the months to come. We are confident that the situation will gradually improve and it will be ‘business as usual’ by the end of the year or early next year.

“We will sort out on a government to government (G2G) basis, the resumption of issuing the Malaysian visa to Chinese travellers,” the Minister said.

According to Liang, the Malaysian Embassy and Malaysia Consulate in China have stopped issuing tourist visas to Chinese citizens intending to visit Malaysia, in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and imposition of the Movement Control Order (MCO) in the country.

He said China’s Five-One policy is still in place, which allows each domestic airline to fly only once a week to any country (one international flight per week), while foreign airlines can fly into China no more than once per week.

For now, it is understood that flights between Malaysia and China are confined to ferrying Chinese nationals back to their country, while only a limited number of Chinese nationals with valid passes (issued by the Malaysian authorities in China) fly from China to Kuala Lumpur.

Meanwhile, Liew said she would invite the Consul-General to join her in her forthcoming visit to some tourist sites within Sabah such as the Danum Valley Conservation Area in Lahad Datu.

“In this way, His Excellency Liang will be able to assist in promoting Sabah which may be lesser known to certain provinces in China,” she added.