Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sabah targets 3.4 million tourists by 2010

21nd November, 2008
Sumber: New Sabah Times

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is targeting to receive 3.03 million tourists next year and 3.4 million by 2010.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun said in his winding up speech at the State Assembly sitting here yesterday that they were also expecting RM5.66 billion in tourism income next year and RM6.37 billion by end of 2010.

In order to achieve this, he said his ministry would enhance cooperation with airline companies operating flights to Sabah.

Air accessibility, he stressed, was important in the development of tourism as more than 96 percent of tourists arrived in Sabah by air.

"Sabah now has 107 international direct flights weekly which link the state to 14 destinations as compared to only 101 flights in 2007," he said, adding that the seat capacity had also increased from 15,762 to 16,607.

Masidi also said with the open skies policy announced by the federal government recently, his ministry would strive to lure more airlines to operate flights to Sabah.

"We will negotiate with airlines that are operating in six regional hubs, namely Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Seoul, Bandar Seri Bengawan, Hong Kong, and Guangzhou to convince them to have direct flights to Sabah and to increase the fight frequency," he said.

At the same time, Masidi said his ministry would also step up its marketing and promotional efforts in destinations which have low-cost carrier services.

Sabah, he said, recorded 1,707,835 tourist arrivals –1,165,821 domestic and 542,014 international tourists – from January to September this year.

"The figures show a rise in the number of domestic arrivals this year by about nine percent," he said.

However international tourist arrivals dropped by 19.2 percent over the same period of last year.

Masidi explained that this however did not include foreigners Indonesia or the Philippines who were mostly here to find employment.

Meanwhile, he said the tourism market was undergoing a healthy growth with increase in arrivals from Brunei (8.4 percent), China and Hong Kong (16.7 percent), Japan (12.8 percent), South Korea (19.7 percent), Australia (27.3 percent) and United Kingdom (28.7 percent).

Masidi also said that that the tourism sector faced a lot of challenges this year.

"The fall of U.S. economy has impacted the global economy, particularly that of Japan, Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong as well as the long haul traditional markets such as UK (United Kingdom) and Australia.

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