Thursday, January 28, 2016

Scores of tourists from China, South Korea coming to Sabah during Chinese New Year period

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is set to welcome scores of tourists from both China and South Korea during the coming Chinese New Year period.

According to Assistant Minister of Sabah Tourism, Culture & Environment Datuk Pang Yuk Ming at least 30 to 40 charter flights from both China and South Korea has confirmed coming to Sabah.

Altogether we expect some 75 charter flights to land at the State Capital from January to March this year, he said when Sabah Association of Tour & Travel Agents (SATTA) chairman Dato’ Seri Winston Liaw paid a courtesy call on him at his office here recently.

“The anticipated arrival is poised to increase the number of Chinese visitors to Sabah by 300,000 people barring any unfortunate incident after it was dropped to 270,000 in 2015,” said Pang, adding that in 2014, Sabah recorded some 300,000 Chinese tourists holidaying in the State.

Based on the rapid development in the State, Pang believed that Sabah can cope with some 500,000 Chinese tourists as now Kota Kinabalu have enough four to five star hotels until 2018.

Besides that, he said the China Southern Airlines is planning to launch daily direct flight from Guangzhou to Kota Kinabalu in June this year and is expected to bring in many foreign individual tourists (FIT) to the State.

The arrival of many foreign individual tourists will provide abundant opportunities for our tour operators to generate greater income, Pang said.

He encouraged local youths to venture into the tourism industry such as setting up their own tour company to provide inbound services for the foreign individual tourists.

However, before they could start off the business they need to deposit RM200,000 as required by the Ministry of Culture & Tourism (MOCAT) before the licence is approved, Pang said.

“This amount is actually quite burdensome for the newcomers as the current economy situation makes it difficult for youths to look for capitals,” noted the assistant minister.