Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Effective communication helped regain Sabah’s tourism draw

KOTA KINABALU: Effective communication has enabled the Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry to overcome negative publicity arising from incidents such as the Tanduo intrusion, kidnappings and the Mount Kinabalu earthquake to regain the State’s popularity as a tourist destination.

Its minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun, said that these incidents had resulted in a drop in tourist arrivals but stressed that effective communication had enabled the State to bounce back.

“The Tanduo incident in 2013 saw a group of armed men from the Southern Philippines landing in the east coast of Sabah to claim the State and the bloody encounter had gone down in the history of Sabah as her first modern armed conflict,” Masidi revealed.

He said that within a week of the untoward incident, his ministry saw a drop in tourism arrivals to Sabah.

“Tanduo is but a small village in Sabah and is 130 kilometres away from Lahad Datu…nevertheless, the whole world perceived that it was the whole of Sabah (being impacted),” he said in his keynote address at the 11th Global Congress and Conferment Ceremony yesterday.

He added that his ministry worked to improve tourist confidence by simply explaining the matter.

He said the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 also impacted tourism arrivals in Sabah.

“Tourists stopped coming to Sabah, so we explained that flying on Malaysia Airlines was not the only way to get to Sabah … we started promoting Sabah through other airlines,” Masidi said.