STB and leading travel group team up to sell Sabah as holiday destination

Liew (centre) flanked by Turner (on her right) and Holden, with her assistant minister cum STB chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai (third from left) and other state officials at the Flight Centre Office in Brisbane.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah tourism authorities will work with a top Australia-based group to market and sell the state further among the Aussies.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew said the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) would embark on a structured timeline for a tactical campaign in collaboration with the Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG).

Headquartered in Brisbane, FCTG has company-owned leisure and corporate travel business in 24 countries spanning Australia, New Zealand, the Americas, Europe, the United Kingdom, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and Asia, she said.

She added that FCTG owns a number of wholesale brands, which supply products to its national and international network or travel retail outlets throughout Australia.

She said the collaboration was crucial for maximum results as the Flight Centre Brisbane is currently promoting Sabah as a holiday destination.

Based on its data, Liew said, 38% of their clients to Sabah were couples, followed by solo travellers (29%) and families (11%).

"It is heartening to note that Kota Kinabalu is the top city to visit, followed by Sandakan," she said in a statement on Tuesday (Sept 5).

"Flight Centre Brisbane's effort in this direction can be enhanced by STB's promotional role, given that our tourism products and services suit the Aussie markets, (such as) wildlife, nature and five-star beach resorts," she added.

She said this after a recent business meeting with the chief executive officer and founder of Flight Centre Brisbane, Graham Turner; its group partnership manager Tim Holden; and global product designer Lorraine Young at the Flight Centre Office in Brisbane.

Among STB's strategies, Liew said, would be online advertising of Sabah and its unique attractions.

This was in order to create awareness at FCTG's retail shops and destination education training for its retail frontliners through familiarisation (FAM) trips, for example, she said.

"When tourism consumers walk into a Flight Centre travel retail outlet, they will learn where Sabah is located and what it has to offer as an ideal holiday destination," she said.

According to her, the proposed strategies were targeted to be implemented by the fourth quarter this year for Australia's outbound traffic from the first quarter of next year onwards.

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