Tourism in Kota Belud improves with zoning and travel bubble

KOTA BELUD: For Nani Peramli, the reopening of the tourism industry at the Mantanani island off here means she can work again.

The 29-year-old from Kampung Padang off Mantanani island here was recently rehired by Sutera @ Mantanani Island Resort and Spa here as a part timer for the food and beverage services.

"I prefer coming back to work at the resort here as it is within walking distance - about 15 minutes from my home.

"Here, I do not have to pay for rental and transportation costs," said Nani who was unemployed about a year ago.

The resort, which takes about an hour boat ride to the mainland, is one of the two tour companies in Sabah allowed for travel bubble services.

Another one is a Semporna-based dive operator Scuba Junkie.

Magellan Sutera Harbour general manager Adrian de Rozario said there was significant increase in occupancy rates at the premises after the government allowed inter-district travel within Zone 1.

Zone 1 includes Kota Kinabalu, Penampang, Putatan, Papar, Tuaran, Ranau and Kota Belud. There are six zones in Sabah.

"Everyone has been awaiting for the golden chance to cross districts in the zone. The support from the locals is good particularly from Kota Kinabalu.

"The occupancy rate is 60 per cent and during the weekends, it goes up to 90 per cent," he told the media here, adding they still adhered with the boat capacity while transferring guests from the mainland.

De Rozario added that it was an honour for the government to allow a travel bubble between Sutera Mantanani and Sutera Harbour in Kota Kinabalu.

"The initiative by the government is very good in terms of SOPs and should be made known to travellers on what are the do's and don'ts." said De Rozario who is also overseeing Sutera Mantanani.

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