SABAH is confident of reaping RM8bil in tourism revenue by 2015, said its Tourism Board chairman Datuk Seri Tengku Zainal Adlin Tengku Mahmood.
He said the target was achievable based on the gradual but steady growth in tourist arrivals over the past few years. The state recorded 2.3 million in arrivals and RM4bil in tourism revenue last year.
“Our projection is reasonable. Air accessibility is a key to our success. Our Kota Kinabalu International Airport will be able to handle up to 12 million passengers annually once its expansion and upgrading work, is completed in August. Currently, it accommodates only about 4.6 million passengers,” he said when met at the Sabah-Labuan Corporate Travel Bazaar in George Town recently.
The one-day bazaar at Cititel Hotel was jointly organised by Tourism Malaysia (Sabah) and Sabah Tourism Board and designed to market travel packages of Sabah and Labuan to the business community in Peninsular Malaysia.
A total of 19 participants from the Sabah travel trade fraternity were present to provide information to more than 100 representatives of corporate and government agencies from Penang, Kedah, Perak, Perlis and southern Thailand.
The state recorded a slight increase in foreign and domestic tourists arrivals for the first four month of this year. The number of foreign tourists increased by 15.4% to 154,000 in comparison with 134,000 recorded last year. Domestic tourist arrivals also in-creased to 525,000, or 4%, from 505,000 last year.
Tengku Zainal Adlin said another 6,000 hotel rooms would be ready by 2012 to complement the existing 18,000 rooms in the state.
“Another aspect we were looking into is flight arrangement. We need more direct flights from Penang.”
Tourism Malaysia Sabah director Roslan Abdullah said Sabah was placing a strong emphasis in tapping the MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and expositions) market. “The MICE industry is an important segment of tourism in Malaysia. Penang has many multi-national companies, so, we would certainly want to tap into that,” he said.
Source : STAR
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