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Sabah targets 3 million tourists this year
Published on: Tuesday, January 16, 2024
By: Ricardo Unto
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Sabah targets 3 million tourists this year
Liew said Sabah received 2.5 million tourists, translating to RM4.6 billion in receipts.
Kota Kinabalu: State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew reiterated her calls on the urgent need to improve Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA).

“I am not satisfied with the facilities in KKIA,” she told a press conference here, Monday.

“The Government needs to put in efforts to upgrade and repair the facilities in KKIA so that we can rightly earn the title of the second busiest airport in the country.

“I foresee 2024 to be a busy year as more tourists will be coming to Sabah.”

On the proposed takeover of KKIA management, Liew said: 

“This is pertaining to policies, so I am leaving it to the Chief Minister (Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor).

“I am only the Tourism Minister to tell them what is going on the ground. And I know he (Chief Minister) is doing something about it.”  

She also said the other airports in the State, like Tawau and Sandakan, also need improvement.

Meanwhile, Liew said Sabah received 2.5 million tourists, translating to RM4.6 billion in receipts.

“For 2024, our target would be 2.8 million arrivals, and I think we can achieve it. But our ultimate goal is three million arrivals by December this year.

“The Sabah Tourism Board (STB) needs to work hard – we will be covering more destinations and countries to get more tourists.”

She disclosed that among the latest destinations eyed by STB is Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

She also said the Sabah Convention Bureau will start its operation this year.

“We will actively promote Mice (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) as this sector is essential.

“When people come here for forums or meetings, they usually stay for one to two weeks – a few days before and after the event.

“Mice programmes will attract potential tourists and business investors.” 

Liew said the Sabah Malaysia My Second Home (SMM2H) programme is expected to start by the end of the first quarter of this year.

“When that programme starts, we can anticipate more people will be interested in coming to Sabah to apply for this programme.”

On the calls made by Federal Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing to reduce tourism-related incidents in Sabah, Liew said “there is always room for improvement.”

“His concerns are security, and I appreciate that very much. I will discuss this with security enforcement authorities, especially in Semporna.

“Even a couple of days ago, a tourist was allegedly robbed while she was walking back to her hotel…this should not have happened.

“We call on the police to step up their enforcement to protect our tourists as we do not want our good image to be tarnished,” she said.

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