Monday, April 01, 2013

Foreign travel writers to help restore tourism confidence in Sabah

Scores of foreign travel writers and bloggers are currently on a tour of Sabah under the Mega Familiarisation programme organised by Tourism Malaysia to enlighten them on the Lahad Datu armed intrusion.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said members of the media fraternity from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Macau and Hong Kong arrived here 10 days ago.

She said the ministry was spending RM500,000 under the programme to take the foreign media delegation to dive spots such as Pulau Layang-Layang and Sipadan to see for themselves the security situation on the islands.

This is to allay fear among foreign travellers on the security situation in tourist destinations in Sabah following the intrusion by Sulu terrorists, she told reporters after launching the Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) Mini Carnival 2014 here yesterday.

“We want them to know that the security of Sabah’s east coast has been tightened with the setting up of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) to keep watch on a coastline of 1,400 km from Kudat to Tawau.

“As the hotel occupancy rate in Sabah, particularly in Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Tawau has dropped by 35 per cent, we need to offset the trend by restoring tourism confidence by giving travel writers the true picture of the situation,” she added.