Sabah's tourism boom in lead-up to Visit Malaysia 2020

  • Malaysia
  • Friday, 11 Oct 2019

Sabah is popular for its islands and adventure holidays. — Tourism Malaysia

Exciting developments are happening in Sabah as part of Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020). For a start, the state will host the Pata (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Adventure Travel Conference and Mart next year, the first time this prestigious affair is being held in the country.

The ninth iteration of this event by Pata takes place in Kota Kinabalu Feb 12-14. It is the region’s leading travel trade event dedicated to the adventure travel industry, with conferences and travel mart components that bring together professionals involved in adventure travel and responsible tourism.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi said this is a “golden opportunity” to showcase Kota Kinabalu to the world. “We look forward to welcoming our international guests to Malaysia for a fruitful meeting and explorations of the beauty and rugged landscapes of Sabah,” he said.

Sabah is popular for outdoor activities. Among its natural assets are Mount Kinabalu, one of South-East Asia’s highest peaks; the Sipadan island dive site with its great marine biodiversity; lush rainforests with unique flora and fauna including the Rafflesia, the world’s largest flower.

Poring Canopy Walkway is said to be the highest in Sabah. Photo: Tourism Malaysia

In a separate development, Tourism Malaysia has introduced a special edition booklet, Best of Sabah Holiday Packages 2019/2020. The publication provides new holiday ideas and explores Sabah’s lesser-known attractions. Some highlights include the state’s rugged adventures, colourful culture and exotic cuisine.

The initiative is the result of partnerships between Sabah Tourism Board, Matta Sabah Chapter, Sabah Tourism Associa­tion, Sabah Homestay Association and local airlines in the state. The booklet is available on the Tourism Malaysia website for download.

As part of VM2020, the government is targeting 30 million tourists and RM100bil in tourist receipts. At a recent event in Sabah, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had expressed confidence that the state would contribute to the growth in tourist numbers.

Last year, the government in Budget 2019 agreed to return 50% of the tourism tax proceeds of the respective states. As of March 2019, of the RM67.7mil distributed to all state governments, Sabah received the highest allocation of RM12.7mil.

“Sabah and Sarawak will continue receiving the biggest allocation in Budget 2020 as in the previous budget,” Lim said.

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