Sabah keen on mutual tourism promotion with Middle East nations

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is looking at bilateral tourism promotion with Middle East countries for mutual benefit, says state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew.

She said there are good prospects for forging such ties as the state was looking at expanding the market for its tourism products.

"Once we reach an agreement on the fundamental factors for mutual promotion, we can establish a framework for bilateral cooperation for business and leisure.

"For example, we can tap the honeymoon market in Egypt, among other countries in the Middle East," Liew said after meeting with a three-member delegation from Global Travel Service (GTS Group) led by its Malaysia office manager Hisham Awny.

Also present were Egypt Promotion managing director Ibrahim El Aref, Jordan-based Travel Link managing director Nancy Zahran and GTS local partner Avasi Borneo Tours and Travel chief executive officer Alicia Gomes.

The group was in Sabah to promote the Middle East and woo Malaysian travellers to Egypt, Jordan, Jerusalem, Lebanon, Dubai, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

However, Liew suggested a two-way approach. with the GTS Group promoting Sabah in the Middle East.

"GTS was agreeable to mutual cooperation," she said after the meeting.

El Aref offered to hold a Sabah promotional roadshow for tour operators in Egypt in the near future if tourism promoters from the state would go to his country.

The Middle East companies will also be at the MATTA Sabah Fair to be held at the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) from Friday to Sunday (May 19-21).

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