Sabah confident of more than 1.7 million tourist arrivals this year - Hajiji

19 Jun 2023 02:30pm
Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor - FILE PIX
Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor - FILE PIX

KOTA KINABALU - The Sabah government is confident of more than 1.7 million tourist arrivals this year as the state continues to register an increasing trend since the opening of borders post- Covid-19 pandemic, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

He said Sabah registered 792,899 visitor arrivals from January to April this year, comprising 565,424 domestic and 227,475 international visitors; marking a 94.1 per cent increase compared to 408,530 for the corresponding period last year.

"This bodes well for Sabah as we continue to push for more air connectivity into Sabah to add to the current weekly 100 international flights with a total seat capacity of 18,164 and domestic flights of 366 with total seat capacity of 60,303,” he said in a statement here today.

Meanwhile, he said the state government is giving priority in developing and upskilling community-based tourism (CoBT) operators by expanding the programme throughout Sabah to help more operators in the rural areas benefit from the economic opportunies.

Hajiji said CoBT has since been adopted in many districts in the state including in the interior and Keningau, which are tourism havens for adventure, culture, environment, food and history enthusiasts.

The Chief Minister said in 2019, two pilot CoBT projects in Kiulu, Tuaran dan Kadamaian, Kota Belud had performed exceptionally well with Kiulu generating RM5.45 million and Kadamaian RM2.57 million in revenue and attracting 54,000 and 217,000 visitors respectively.

Hajiji said the state government through the State Tourism,Culture and Environment Ministry has allocated RM10 million under its Sabah New Deal initiative to repair basic tourism infrastructure in the rural areas, benefitting not only Keningau but Nabawan, Tenom and Tambunan.

"We are also proud because other states in Malaysia like Terengganu, Melaka, Sarawak and Pahang have looked to Sabah to learn from our success in developing the rural tourism industry.

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"We are confident that by 2030, Sabah will achieve 80 percent Asean standard compliance target for CoBT in Sabah,” Hajiji said.

To date, Sabah has won various awards such as the Asean Community Based Tourism Awards, Asean Homestay Award, the World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO) Best Village Tourism and the World Crafts Council Award of Excellence for Handicraft, Asia Pacific Region. - BERNAMA