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Impressive rise in tourists to Sabah: Matta
Published on: Sunday, May 22, 2016

Kuala Lumpur: The negative perception of Sabah being unsafe to visit is not affecting the number of tourist arrivals to the State, said Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) President Datuk Hamzah Rahmat.

This was proven after Sabah received the highest number of tourist arrivals from China, namely 60.3 per cent, followed by South Korea (33.9 per cent), Australia (16.3 per cent) and Taiwan (8.3 per cent).

"If Sabah is unsafe, I'm sure the number of tourists will decline but this has not happened.

Instead Sabah is receiving a large number of tourists," he said in the 'Dalam Radar' programme of Bernama Radio, here.

Hamzah said Sabah recorded an impressive increase of Chinese tourists after the implementation of visa waiver and e-visa system for tourists.


The Sabah tourism industry also aggressively conducted campaigns to attract foreign tourists.

"The State also had strong support from Sabah Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun," he said. Earlier, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said Malaysia is targeting 36 million tourist arrivals by 2020.

Meanwhile, Chinese tourist arrivals to Malaysia is picking up, thanks to the implementation of the electronic visa (-e-visa) March 2015, as well as, various tourism promotions.

Malaysian Ambassador to China, Datuk Zainuddin Yahya, said since the e-visa was launched, 15,669 e-visa applications were received and 19,934 application for electronic travel registration and information (ENTRI).


"The processing fee for visa application is not an obstacle...Chinese tourists to Malaysia is showing an increasing trend," he said after launching the Tourism Malaysia Pavilion at the Beijing International Tourism Expo (BITE) in Beijing.

Zainuddin said Chinese travellers still preferred to walk-in for visa applications and more efforts must be made to raise awareness among the locals to apply visa online.

"About 10 per cent of them are applying for visa online while 90 per cent still prefer to walk-in to the visa centre to apply due to lack of awareness especially, among those from the interiors of China," he added.

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