KOTA KINABALU: It was a good year for Sabah tourism, thanks to the hard work put in by all stakeholders.
State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said there were more than 3.6 million tourist arrivals in 2017, a 7.5% increase from 2016.
He noted that despite two major setbacks, the number of tourists visiting the state had increased.
“Even when we thought the industry would collapse following the deadly June 5 Mount Kinabalu quake in 2015, all of you proved the critics wrong,” he said during an assembly with ministry staff.
Masidi added though the tourism industry had come to a standstill for a while after the incident, as well as the Lahad Datu intrusion in 2013, it had bounced back.
“In fact, we managed to increase the number of visitors,” Masidi said, adding this would not have been possible if ministry staff including clerks and cleaners, Sabah Parks personnel, tour guides, mountain guides and everyone else related to the industry had not give their best.
He said thanks to their efforts, the Kota Kinabalu International Airport was the second busiest in Malaysia, overtaking Penang.
Visitors going to Mount Kinabalu had also increased by 7.1%, from 284, 653 in 2016 to 304, 905 last year.
“And there is a long waiting list for visitors wanting to scale the mountain which is now reachable via two routes – Kota Belud and Mount Kinabalu,” Masidi added.
He noted 95% of the workforce in the tourism industry comprised Sabahans.