Sabah earns RM5 million from visits of two groups of tourists

KOTA KINABALU (March 16): It is estimated that the recent visits of two groups of tourists from China, one of them a MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Conference and Exhibition) group, have brought in more than RM5 million revenue to Sabah’s tourism industry, said chairman of Sri Pelancongan Sabah, Ken Pan Ying On.

He said their two-week stay in Sabah with a packed holiday programme, plus a company annual gala, had generated income for tourism stakeholders in Kota Kinabalu, Kundasang, Tuaran and Semporna.

“This is a head start to Sabah’s tourism industry for 2024. MICE groups have high spending power, and this in turn boosts the local economy.

“Air connectivity has improved with more direct flights from major Chinese cities to Kota Kinabalu, thus allowing tourists to experience various types of travel. These include leisure tourism, sightseeing tours, cultural tourism, diving, mountain climbing, and forest adventures, and underwater world explorations. All these activities mean spending money in Sabah,” Pan said.

From late February to early March, Guangzhou HuanYa Holidays and Sabah Perfect Holidays jointly organised a trip for 182 tourists from Wuhan, who are involved in the beauty industry.

“During this period, the tourists, who were full of praise for Sabah’s rich marine resources, thoroughly enjoyed the blue skies and seas, unparalleled underwater world, and luxurious seaside resorts, coupled with very fresh seafood, in the Land Below The Wind.”

According to Pan, the second group of 450 tourists from the IT industry in Beijing arrived here in four batches.

The trip was organised by Beijing Mafengwo, and co-hosted by Guangzhou HuanYa Holidays, Sabah Happy Holidays, and Kuala Lumpur New Morning Travel. “They stayed for six consecutive nights at the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, where they successfully held their company’s annual gala. The guests also experienced Sabah’s thrilling water sports, beautiful sunset yacht tours, ecotourism in mangrove forests, and the natural beauty of Mount Kinabalu, among other activities.”

Tourism, Culture and Environment Mia Datuk Christina Liew noted that Sabah is gaining momentum as a preferred MICE destination.

“With the gradual recovery of the Chinese tourism market, the ministry through the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) will actively promote the development of the state’s tourism industry, while also increasing support for high-end tourism businesses.

“Now that we have established the Sabah Convention Bureau, we expect more MICE groups from China, among other countries, to visit Sabah this year,” she said.