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Chinese tourist arrivals increase by 44.2pc
Published on: Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Kuala Lumpur: Tourist arrivals from China to Sabah has increased by 44.2 per cent to 300,103 visitors in the first six months this year compared to the same period last year.

This is followed by a 17.2 per cent growth or 162,276 arrivals from South Korea whereas Taiwanese tourists have dropped 11.9 per cent to 26,250 persons from January to June this year.

Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mohamaddin bin Ketapi, said in response to Senator Datuk Yong Wui Chung's questions in the latter's winding up speech during the Dewan Negara sitting, here, recently.

According to Sabah Tourism Board's (STB) statistics last year, he said the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park was the most visited destination among China, Taiwanese and South Korean tourists with 564,330 visitors recorded.

Poring Hot Spring was ranked the second most visited attraction (416,572 visitors), followed by Kinabalu National Park (304,905), Tun Sakaran Marine Park (163,183), Lok Kawi Wildlife Park (142,519), Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary (120,529) and Sipadan Island (43,717).

Mohamaddin said his Ministry has been working with STB to organise various programmes to promote our State's tourism. He said tourism events were packaged to cater for charter flights from East Asia.

"Charter flights are popular in Sabah. From January to June this year, Sabah has received 151 charter flights carrying 20,532 tourists from China and one charter flight from Japan. Tourist arrivals from China, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan via charter flights have increased by 273 per cent to 20,652 persons this year compared to 5,504 persons for the same period last year."

Other programmes undertaken include participating in tourism exhibitions such as the International Tourism Bourse (ITB)-Berlin, World Travel Mart (WTM)-London, Destination Show-London, Vakantiebeurs-Amsterdam, Matka-Helsinki, Sabah Roadshow-Australia; organizing Mega Familiarization trips for media and industry players to introduce the attractions in Sabah; advertising campaigns for the domestic and international markets; and overall promotion of inbound tourism.

He added that the advertising budget for promoting Malaysia tourism was RM 110 million for 2018.

To another question, Mohamaddin said his ministry has identified eight ecotourism clusters in Sabah under the National Ecotourism Plan (NEP) 2016-2025, namely Kota Kinabalu-Papar-Beaufort-Klias-Kuala Penyu-Menumbok-Sipitang-Long Pasia; Sandakan-Kinabatangan; Kota Kinabalu-Kota Belud-Kota Marudu-Kudat; Kota Kinabalu-Tambunan-Crocker Range Park-Keningau-Tenom; Kota Kinabalu-Tamparuli-Kundasang-Ranau; Maliau Basin-Imbak Canyon; Danum Valley-Tabin (Lahad Datu); and Tawau-Semporna-Mabul-Sipadan-Kunak.

He said the community-based tourism (CBT) in these ecotourism clusters focused on homestay programmes, which could be further developed and promoted holistically.

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