25th April, 2016
By JAINUDIN DJIMIN
LABUAN: The island tourism players must take the lead now in reviving Labuan’s ailing economy following the slump in the oil and gas industry.
Labuan MP Datuk Rozman Datuk Isli said the tourism industry must find ways on how to generate revenue for the island.
“Tourism has been playing second fiddle after the oil and gas industry. And with the drop in the world oil prices, we have to relook the tourism industry,” he said during an engagement session with Tourism and Culture ministry and tourism players here on Saturday.
Rozman who is also the Labuan Corporation chairman said the oil and gas industry has been the main economic driver of the island all these years and no one expected that the industry would fail this time around.
“We are facing a crisis on the island as businesses are failing and the number of visitors and employees are dropping,” he said.
He said the time has come for tourism operators to pull up their socks and work for the good of the future of Labuan.
He added that the oil and gas industry has been crippled and it would take time for the industry for pick up again.
“We must save the economy of Labuan and the tourism industry is the next best thing that we have,” he pleaded.
According to Rozman, tourist arrival has dropped by 2.6 per cent from 1.04 million in 2014 to 1.02 million visitors.
He also said that his office has forward a proposal to the Prime Minister to step up tourism activities in Labuan.
“Our Prime Minister has directed the tourism ministry to take the necessary actions to help Labuan in the tourism industry,” he added.
The engagement session, Rozman said, was among the initiatives to improve the tourism industry.
Among the long-term tourism programmes are Labuan Water Festival which will be held from April 29 to May 1, Festival, Culture and Taste Muzium showcase, the Colours of Borneo (July 23-24), Tourism Recreation Carnival (Sept 28-29) and Remembrance Day (Nov 13).
“We are also looking at building a jetty at Pulau Rusukan Besar which will cost RM1.1 million. The project will be in 2018-2019 second plan,” he added.
Also present at the event were the ministry deputy secretary-general, Datuk Rashidi Hasbullah, and tourism licensing secretary Nor Yahati Awang among others.
Some 200 people including cabbies, tour operators and eatery operators were also in attendance.