Sabah showcased as prime tourism destination in Dubai

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is being promoted as a preferred destination during a travel market in Dubai, in an effort to penetrate the Middle Eastern market.

Sabah Tourism Board (STB) has brought five local travel agents for the 2022 Arabian Travel Market, which runs from Monday (May 9) to Thursday (May 12) at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

They also did a Business-to-Business (B2B) engagement with potential partners and buyers on Sunday (May 8), organised by Solidarity Association For Travel and Tours Agency Malaysia (SAFTTA), said STB CEO Noredah Othman.

In a statement here on Monday, she said the Middle East had been identified as Sabah’s emerging market, hence the B2B session was timely now that travel activities were returning to normal.

"Sabah can be an eye-opening destination for our Middle Eastern visitors, from its friendly people and rich culture to its breathtaking nature, wildlife, and cuisine.

"We have a wide variety of unique experiences for tourists to choose from.

"We, at Sabah Tourism Board, have also consistently maintained our commitment and aggressiveness in promoting tourism activities and products to the foreign market even during the pandemic," she said.

Noredah added that an influx of Middle Eastern tourists to Malaysia and to the state was therefore anticipated, and all stakeholders must work towards making this a success.

Meanwhile, one of the participating travel agents, Fun Holiday Tours and Travel managing director Connie Chong, said Middle Eastern travellers visiting Malaysia might not necessarily be looking to only shop.

"Many of them are drawn by the country’s climate, culture, and food.

"The B2B session earlier gave a chance to promote Malaysia tourism products and provide more destination information to all trade partners and tourism industry players.

"As agents from Sabah, we need to be aggressive in promoting our state's uniqueness to them such as the Danum Valley, Kundasang highland, islands, the local cultures, and many more.

"Flight connectivity is also not a major problem for Sabah, so we will continue to play our role in promoting Sabah," said Chong.

At present, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Brunei are the easiest gateways to Sabah from Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

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