Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Steep fall in tourist arrivals from China to Sabah

The incidents involving MAS flights MH370 and MH17 as well as the abduction cases in Sabah’s east coast had a negative effect on the state’s tourism sector.

According to Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun, tourist arrivals to the state especially from China had decreased significantly.

“The incident with MH370 had a bigger negative effect on Sabah’s tourism sector. I would like to explain how serious the situation is… during Chinese New Year this year, we received 67 chartered flights from China but so far, we have only received confirmation for four chartered flights from China for Chinese New Year next year.

“You can imagine the significant impact on the number of arrivals from China and although there is a significant increase in the number of arrivals from Europe, Australia, Japan and Korea, the number is not enough to mitigate the sharp fall in the arrival of visitors from China,” he said.

Masidi said this when replying to Elopura assemblyman, Datuk Au Kam Wah, who wanted to know just how far had the Lahad Datu intrusion, abduction cases, the MH370 and MH17 cases affected the tourist arrivals to Sabah.

According to Masidi, compared to the same eight month period last year, this year Sabah’s tourist arrivals of 2,156,973 was a 0.1 per cent decrease as 2,159,411 arrivals were recorded in 2013.

While domestic arrivals had increased from 1,425,711 in 2013 to 1,455,290 (2.1 per cent) this year, the number of international arrivals from January to August this year showed a 4.4 per cent decrease from 733,700 in 2013 to 701,683, he said.

“In 2013, arrivals from China contribute 33.1 per cent of the overall tourist arrivals to Sabah. Therefore, any decrease in this market will give significant impact to the international tourist arrivals to the state,” he stressed.