Business as usual: Tourists arriving at the resort off Semporna yesterday. — NORMIMIE DIUN / The Star
SEMPORNA: Visitors continued to pour into the Singamata Reef Resort even as police personnel combed through the area where a Chinese tourist and a Filipina worker were abducted.
The new arrivals said they were undeterred by the incident, adding that the presence of large number of Malaysian security personnel at the resort was reassuring.
A visitor who wanted to be identified only as Zhang said he arrived at the resort with a female companion yesterday despite being informed earlier by the staff there about the abduction.
“The resort worker asked if we wanted to proceed with our stay. We decided to go ahead since we have paid for it,” he said.
Another resort guest who wanted to be identified as Mia said she intended to stay for another three days.
“I think everything is okay now,” she added.
Toby Kwok of Guangzhou, who arrived at the resort on March 30, said he was confident of the security there.
“I never expected something like this to happen here. I can only hope those abducted are safe,” said.
Kwok said he intended to stay until Sunday.
“I came here to take part in a diving course and I will proceed as planned.
“I feel safe. I don’t think the kidnappers will dare come back,” he said, looking at the several dozen policemen at the resort.
He said he did not even know about the incident until a resort worker knocked on his door and asked him and other guests to gather at the restaurant where they were told what had happened.
Meanwhile, tour agents in Johor Baru believe the Sabah incident will hamper tourist arrivals from China.
Top One Travel Services Corp (M) Sdn Bhd managing director Ricky Hon said his firm was experiencing a 50% drop in bookings from China following the MH370 incident on March 8.
He said it was unfortunate that a second incident happened in such a short span of time involving a Chinese citizen.
Hon said operators of local tour agencies believe that there might be a backlash from Chinese tourists.
“We used to have an average of 40 people in a group tour to China every few days. But it has now dropped to about 15 to 20 people per group,” he said.
B & T Holidays Tours Sdn Bhd managing director Chuah Boon Seong said at least four groups from Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai have cancelled their trips to Malaysia since the MH370 incident.
“I foresee that more (Chinese tourists) will cancel their trips to the country,” he said.
Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (MATTA) president Hamzah Rahmat reassured Malaysians that it was still safe for them to travel to China despite the incidents.
“There is nothing to fear and we have not seen any adverse reports of Malaysian tourists being treated badly in China.
“So there is nothing to be worried about,” he said.
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