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RM4.7b from tourism last year
Published on: Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah reaped over RM4.7 billion in tourism receipts last year, accounting for 14.8 per cent of the State's GDP.Sabah Tourism Board (STB) Chairman Tengku Datuk Dr D.Z. Adlin in his presentation at the first Surveyors' Congress organised by the Institution of Malaysia (ISM) Sabah branch, said the State has already enjoyed above average growth of 22 per cent per annum.

"This is far exceeding that of Malaysia as a whole in the last 10 years."

He said total arrivals of just over 400,000 in 1998 significantly increased five-fold to 2.48 million (60pc domestic, 40pc international) last year, which accounted for the yield surpassing the RM3.2 billion estimated for 2007.

The average per capita tourism receipt for international tourists is RM2,500 (domestic RM1,500) and average length of stay was eight nights, nine days (domestic four nights, five days). Ninety-nine per cent of the tourists came by air while over 40pc were repeat visitors.

"The focus is on high yield longer-staying tourists, in pursuance of sustainable tourism development, and Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Events (MICE) with 47,000 participants worldwide yielding RM120m tourism receipts."

On the international tourist profile, 33pc were from the professional and managerial group. Sixty-six per cent between 21 and 50 years old while about 20pc above 50 years old.

In Sabah, as of last year, there were a total of 294 hotels with 12,913 rooms.

The occupancy rate Statewide averaged 75 per cent and over 80 per cent are for four-star and five-star hotels.

By 2010, 6,000 rooms would be in demand, especially with regard to five-star beach resort hotels. A total of 4,000 rooms, presently under construction, are scheduled for completion in 2009.

Adlin said apart from a comprehensive long-term hotel/accommodation plan and strategy, manpower is being enhanced through training programmes involving all levels and categories. There are presently a total of 14,000 employees in the tourism sector.

"A people-to-people philosophy, clear and compelling shared vision, strategic initiatives, programmes and events that have impact domestically and internationally, creativity, focus, commitment and dynamic leadership, among others, contributed to the double digit growth."

According to him, the growth per annum is projected to be above 20 per cent in the next five years, with over 80 per cent intra regional arrivals from the East Asia Pacific Region whose total 2006 outbound tourists were over 170m and are within six hours' direct flight to Sabah.

"The projection for 2010 is 3.4m tourist arrivals with tourism receipts exceeding RM6.5b."

The challenge, he stressed, is continued sustainable development and ramping up Sabah's tourism capabilities to play with a higher league of competitor destinations i.e. "how to move up to the next level and to shine among the best".

STB's target by 2020 is to achieve one per cent of the US$2,000b world tourism receipts.



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