Thursday, April 16, 2015

Marginal tourism growth seen this year

THE tourism sector is expected to remain challenging this year due to the continuing unfavourable global economy and domestic incidents that took place in 2014.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said Sabah recorded a drop of 3.7 per cent in tourist arrivals last year and it was very likely the state would have only marginal growth this year.

“We do not expect to do overwhelmingly well given the global situation. We might have some improvement but it will be a very small growth,” he told the State Assembly in his winding up speech yesterday.

Masidi also attributed his assessment to the trend among the Chinese tourists, who are now opting to spend their holidays in new destinations further away from their country.

The Chinese traditionally make the bulk of Sabah tourist arrivals and receipts.

“This 2015 is the time for the tourism sector to rebuild itself, to recover and do better than last year. The state government will strengthen its promotional efforts in long distance markets and reassess its strategy for domestic market, apart from continuing focus on markets that have shown good performance last year,” said Masidi.

In 2014, Sabah was visited by a total of 3.065 million international and domestic tourists, as compared to over 3.181 million in the previous year.

The domestic segment, which accounted for the majority of the tourists, dropped by 2.6 per cent while the international segment plummeted by 6.4 per cent.

A total of RM6.328 billion in tourist receipts was recorded last year.

Masidi said the government recognized that tourism was a private-driven sector and would continue to encourage and work with private companies to promote and develop the industry.