Sabah tourism in recovery

KOTA KINABALU: After a rough patch, domestic tourism is gradually making headway in Sabah with visits by Malaysians from other parts of the country.

This includes a tourism familiarisation trip to the east coast of Sabah by 43 outbound tour and travel agents and operators from Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak, who arrived on Friday and will stay until tomorrow.

The trip dubbed “Lovely Vacation” is supported by the Sabah Tourism Board (STB), said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew (pic) in a statement yesterday.

“These are among the positive signs of tourism recovery, which will spur the local economy.

“We must emphasise ‘Travel Safe’ as the tagline and not just stay at home if we are determined to revive tourism, ” said Liew, who was briefed by STB general manager Noredah Othman.

Liew said two diplomats from the Tanzanian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur had recently chosen Sabah as a holiday destination.

“The duo are Deputy Head of Mission and Counsellor Khatibu A. Makenga and Finance Attache Robert M. Thobias. Among the places they visited were Sabah Parks, Poring Hot Spring and Kota Kinabalu city, including the STB Office (formerly a colonial post office) where they met Noredah and other senior officials, ” she said.

The diplomats, added Liew, were impressed with the warmth and friendliness of Sabahans and the multiracial harmony.

“This is their maiden visit to Sabah after having been to 10 other states during their four-year stay in Malaysia. I am glad to hear that they are planning to return in the near future, ” she said.

According to Noredah, the diplomats said Tanzanians would love Sabah for its abundant greenery.

“Tourist arrivals in Tanzania are about 1.5 million and the embassy is envious of Malaysia’s tourist arrivals.

“They are keen to arrange a second visit to Sabah. This time to do a promotion on Tanzania in the hope of organising a familiarisation tour to their country, ” Noredah said in the statement.

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