Kota Kinabalu: Sabah needs at least 8,000 rooms within the next five years with the anticipated rise in tourist arrivals following the current expansion of the Kota Kinabalu International Airport, said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat.
Chong, who is also Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, said with the expansion of KKIA which would feature 10 new aerobridges, more aircraft would be able to bring in more tourists to Sabah.
The RM800 million KKIA expansion project that will see the reclamation of sea to accommodate a longer runway as well as a bigger passenger terminal would begin early next year, making it among the best, if not the best in the country, once completed.
Work is now under way to clear the surrounding area of squatters.
Currently, there are 12,000 rooms in Sabah with half of them in the city catering to tourists in Sabah, Chong said when launching the city's latest boutique hotel, Saturday.
According to him, about 3,000 rooms are needed in the city alone and he hoped more boutique hotels would be built here, Tawau and Sandakan.
He said the demand for rooms in Sabah is there as reflected by the increase in tourist arrivals to 1.7 million to date from just about 300,000 seven years ago.
At the same time, he said room rates in Sabah are still considered relatively cheap compared to those in Europe.
Towards this end, Chong said the hotel and service industry needs to train more human capital in order to provide better quality service apart from emphasising on cleanliness and security of visitors.
Source: Daily Express