KOTA KINABALU: With the exception of the Chinese New Year holidays, Sabah may experience a decline in tourist arrivals in the first quarter of this year in view of the global economic crisis.
Tourism, Culture & Environment Minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun told New SAbah Times yesterday the Korean market was already showing a slowdown in arrival statistics due to the sharp depreciation of the Won currency against the Ringgit.
“Even the Australian market, which saw an upswing during the last quarter of 2008, may be affected by the depreciation of the Australian Dollar against our currency,” he said.
He added that with the current exchange rate, it was now more expensive for the Koreans and Aussies to spend their holidays in Sabah.
But despite the slowdown and uncertainties, Masidi remained upbeat that Sabah’s young tourism industry was able to come out of the economic crisis healthier and stronger, especially with proper marketing strategies.
“Sabah can actually gain from the Japanese, southern Chinese (Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Shanghai) Singaporean, the rich Indonesians and Filipinos and even from the more affluent Australians.
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