KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s diverse tourism offerings are turning heads at an international tourism fair in Berlin, says state Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.
He said foreign travel and tour agents have conveyed the interest shown by western holidaymakers to delegates from the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) at ITB Berlin 2023 (Internationale Tourismus-Borse Berlin).
During the travel trade show, the STB team met with 33 travel agents from countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, the Czech Republic, the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Australia, he added.
Bangkuai, who is also STB chairman, said Sabah’s diverse tourism sector was especially attractive to European tourists who appreciate adventure and prefer exploring off the beaten track destinations.
“Sabah is the ideal getaway for them since it has everything they enjoy – sea, sun, wildlife and nature.
“These are the kinds of tourists we want to keep pursuing,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Bangkuai said industry players also liked STB’s new tagline of “Feel Sabah, North Borneo”.
“They like how the new tagline highlights the experiential aspect of visiting Sabah,” he added.
Bangkuai said STB was driven to implement changes in its promotional strategy to ensure visitors would not just see Sabah, but experience it in a personal and meaningful way.
Sabah’s new tourism destination tagline was unveiled at ITB Berlin on March 7 in the presence of Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew who was leading a 10-member delegation from the state.
Sabah industry players present at the ITB Berlin were Borneo Eco Tours, Borneo Nature Tours, Borneo Trails, Rustic Borneo, Sepilok Tropical Wildlife Adventure, and the Tabin Wildlife Resort.
Meanwhile, in a statement, the Sarawak Tourism Board said it returned with a strong showing to ITB Berlin with its own inaugural stand-alone pavilion to strengthen Sarawak’s presence in the European market.
“From its participation at ITB Berlin, Sarawak had become more visible, positioning itself as a unique, new and exotic destination.
“The Sarawak Tourism Board and its trade partners managed to clinch 52 new leads to promote Sarawak, which the board hoped to be realised in 2023, and it is projected these leads would result in a 20% growth in terms of sales from the Europe market,” it said.