Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Sabah earns RM6.5 billion from tourism

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah garnered an estimated RM6.5 billion in tourism receipts, attracting 3 million visitors in 2015, according to Sabah Tourism Board (STB) Chairman, Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.

“Sabah is richly blessed with natural wonders which make it the second most preferred destination in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur according to China’s leading online agency, Ctrip.com,” he said during his officiating address at the 13th training course on Marketing and Promotion of Ecotourism Products yesterday at the Klagan Hotel.

In his speech, Joniston commended the initiative by the Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) to organise the training course under the Malaysia Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP) which serves as an opportunity for participants to exchange best practices in the industry between Malaysia and other countries.

The two-week course was attended by 15 participants from 8 countries, including Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Maldives, Palau, Tanzania, Vietnam and Zimbabwe to gain greater insight by joining panel discussion and lectures on various topics on ecotourism development by speakers from University Technology Malaysia (UTM), Sabah Parks and the representatives from the tourism industry.

“Tourism is increasingly becoming a major earner for a growing number of industries with improved connectivity, ease of travel but success of a tourism destination is not dependent on attractive products but properly executed marketing and promotion to boost the number of tourist arrivals,” he said.

Moreover, Joniston said the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment will be exploring new areas to be developed into tourism attractions, at the 13th training course on Marketing and Promotion of Ecotourism products.

“Throughout the course, participants will understand and learn key components of marketing and promotion of ecotourism destinations that appeal to avid nature- lover travellers while addressing uniqueness of tourism products, the impact of ecotourism development and promotion to surrounding local communities,” he said.