Sunday, October 13, 2013

China, Hong Kong top Sabah tourist arrivals

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah needs a monthly average of 210,147 visitors for the next 4 months (September to December) in order to achieve the 3 million visitor arrivals target set for 2013.

As of August, Sabah has achieved 72 per cent of the target.

Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Pang Yuk Ming said the North Asia market, namely China and Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and  Taiwan continued  to be the largest source of international arrivals, accounting for 51.2 per cent of total international arrivals (733,700)  to the State.

“China and Hong Kong leads the Asian growth with 86.8 per cent growth during Jan-Aug 2013, representing 33.7 per cent of total international arrivals.

“Meanwhile, the Oceania market continued to show strong growth at eight per cent. The government anticipates arrivals to continue growing with the positive news from Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to increase the Kota Kinabalu-Perth flight from one to two flights per week,” he said when representing Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun at the launching of the SATTA Fair and SFHTEX Sabah Food, Hospitality and Tourism Exhibition 2013 at Sabah Trade Centre, yesterday.

He said the tourism industry was extremely important to Sabah and its economy. These sectors have transformed significantly over the past decade to meet growing demand while maintaining quality. For the past eight months this year, tourism has grown tremendously. The grand total nett arrivals recorded double digit growth of 15.3 per cent with 2,159,411 against 1,873,507 in 2012.

“We anticipate the travel demand from China and Hong Kong to show significant increase in the next few months, especially after the much anticipated visit of the Chinese premier to Sabah, which will boost the destination branding as a holiday destination in this region,” he said.

Pang added China and Hong Kong alone increased by 86.8 per cent from 132,377 to 247,273 from Jaunary to August this year compared to the same period last year.

According to statistics from Sabah Tourism Board (up to August), domestic arrivals continued to register double digit growth of 14.6 per cent, driven by strong travel demand during the Hari Raya holidays.

Domestic arrivals are expected to register further growth with the new service by Air Asia for the Kota Bahru – Kota Kinabalu route which is set to commence on 16 November.

Meanwhile, European arrivals registered a marginal decrease of 0.6 per cent during the first eight months of 2013, after two consecutive single-month drops in July (-13.1 per cent) and August (-16.4 per cent). It is noted that the European arrivals via the Kuala Lumpur hub and other domestic flights registered decreases of 22.4 per cent and 30.5 per cent during July and August.

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