Thursday, March 31, 2005

Sabah hopes to earn RM10bil from tourism by 2010

SABAH hopes to attract four million tourists and earn RM10bil in tourism receipts by 2010, said Sabah Tourism Board chairman Tengku Datuk Dr Zainal Adlin.

Given its strategic position in the Borneo archipelago, the state believes it can position itself as the “gateway to Borneo.” That is why it is on an aggressive drive to promote its various tourist destinations and pristine beaches.

Zainal said Mount Kinabalu was a natural best seller and what was needed was a bigger push to promote it further.

“We have the sun, sea, sand, forest and mountains to offer and all these are just within one hour of several countries in this region,” he said in his presentation.

Every year, the state spends about RM20mil to promote tourism activities.

Tourist arrivals have been on the rise and last year, it totalled 1.7 million, with tourism receipts amounting to RM2.2bil.

Hotel occupancy is also on the rise, averaging 75% last year. The state has 156 hotels with 10,000 rooms, of which 5,000 are in Kota Kinabalu.

However, he said, Sabah would face shortage of hotel rooms after 2008 if new ones were not developed.

“For the next three years, we would have enough rooms but beyond that, we may face shortages,” he said.

He added that although a lot of hotel projects were being planned, construction work was only expected to take off next year.

Source: The Star

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