Sabah eyes more Aussies


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is set to participate in several travel-related events in Australia to attract more tourists from Down Under.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said Sabah and Australia always had a positive connection with one another and both countries had been working together to boost mutual tourism.

“It has long been a goal of the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) to increase Australian arrivals and we have always been conducting roadshows to pique Australians’ interest in travelling to Sabah,” he told reporters when met at the Sandakan Memorial Park on the state’s east coast yesterday.

“The STB team will participate in a couple of roadshows organised by the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry in major cities of Australia to help build awareness of Sabah as a tourist destination,” he said.

He was referring to the Tourism Malaysia Oceania Roadshow that will be taking place from Aug 21 to 26 in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.

Bangkuai, who is STB chairman, was in Sandakan to represent Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor at the annual Sandakan Memorial Day service, which pays tribute to Australian and British servicemen who lost their lives in the death march during World War II.

The service also honours local unsung heroes who gave their lives in service to Allied troops.

Present were Australian Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel Matt Keogh, British High Commissioner to Malaysia Charles Hay and Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia Dr Justin Lee.

Bangkuai said the participation of the Australian ministerial delegation was evidence of the strong ties between Sabah and Australia.

He also believed momentous events such as the Sandakan Memorial Service would serve to enhance the relationship between the two governments and help stimulate tourism.

Meanwhile, Keogh’s visit to Malaysia, and Sabah in particular, was his first official international engagement since taking office in June this year.

“I am grateful for the opportunity this visit has given me to discover more about our common heritage and to better explore this fantastic part of Malaysia, its culture and history,” he said.

Keogh and his delegates arrived in Sandakan on Sunday, where they took the opportunity to explore the town and some tourist attractions.

Keogh praised Sabah for its nature-based and wildlife-based tourism, all of which would appeal to Australians.

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