Monday, March 25, 2013

Semporna tourism, investments dip 70 per cent

KOTA KINABALU: Semporna is losing more than 70 per cent in tourism and business investments due to the Lahad Datu incursion.

Sabah United Chinese Chambers of Commerce (SUCCC) president Datuk Seri Panglima Gan Sau Wah said many foreign and domestic tourists had canceled their reservations on hotel rooms and banquets in Semporna since the incursion.

He said the reports on Lahad Datu and Semporna incidents by the foreign media such as from the United States, Canada and China had impacted greatly, while the embassies of United States, Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan have advised their citizens against coming to Sabah.

“Under these circumstances, tourists feel threatened,” Gan said when asked by the media after officiating at the opening ceremony of the Federations of Sabah and Labuan Federal Territory Hokkien Association annual general meeting (AGM) here yesterday.

Gan lamented that businessmen who initially wanted to invest, develop and acquire lands in Lahad Datu and Semporna have also changed their minds.

“The prices of buildings and shop lots have also dropped,” he added, saying that all sectors were affected by the intrusion of the Sulu terrorists.

He stressed that the losses were not just limited to the cancellation of hotel and restaurant reservations, but also the loss of investment and cancellation of shop lot purchases.

“The losses in tourism and economy have not only declined by 50 per cent, as reported by Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, but at least 70 per cent and above in all tourism and business investments,” he said.

Gan said although the situation was under control now, the people still harboured apprehension and caution.

While he believed that our security could be improved with the setting up of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) along the coastline and security facilities, people still have fear.

“This is because of the hundreds of thousands of Filipinos living in Sabah, including those with identification cards and those without, he said.

“We are still afraid because Sabah has no experience like war or exchange of fire. Sabah had always been a haven, we have not had these experiences before.

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