Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Sabah to speed up hotels construction to accommodate foreign tourists

KOTA KINABALU: The state cabinet will expedite the construction of hotels to accommodate the increasing number of foreign tourists to Sabah, Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun said.

Although the state is in dire need of hotels, it must still ensure that the hotels that will be built in Sabah are reputable and of the highest quality.

“The state cabinet had recently decided to speed up the construction of more hotels in the state and a few companies had already been tasked to do so. We are fully aware of the state’s need,” Masidi said at a press conference during the launching ceremony of Xiamen Airlines’ inaugural flight from Beijing to Kota Kinabalu at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) on Tuesday.

“We must be proactive. We must leverage on Sabah’s beauty, not only in terms of its nature but in terms of its services and facilities as well,” he added.

Earlier in his speech, Masidi disclosed that there were over 430,000 tourists from China who came to Sabah, adding that most of them were from the southern or central China.

Last year’s figure had indicated an increase of 15.7 per cent in tourist arrivals compared to those of 2016.

Furthermore, with the commencement of the Xiamen Airlines’ direct flight, the state, Masidi asserted, would be expecting more Chinese tourists for this year and thus hotels would be needed more than ever.

Masidi also said the launching of Xiamen Airlines’ direct non-stop flight from Beijing to Kota Kinabalu will open more doors for Chinese tourists to come to Sabah.

“This is a huge opportunity for Sabah and Malaysia. We can expect more Chinese tourists to visit Sabah because of the availability of this direct flight,” he said.

“There will be a strong exchange of visitors to foster good relationship between China and Sabah. China has been the main international market source for Sabah.

“For the last ten years, we have penetrated into the main as well as the second tier cities with a population that craves for trips to the beaches and islands, which we are known for,”  Masidi said.