KOTA KINABALU: The Federal Government is prepared to consider putting up another terminal at Kota Kinabalu International Airport in view of the booming Sabah tourism industry.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said tourist arrivals are expected to pick up as Sabah's natural beauty and the friendliness of its people attract visitors.
"So, if there is a need, I have told Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, we will look at adding a new terminal," he said during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Ulu Padas hydroelectric dam project in Tenom district on Thursday (Dec 7).
"The rise (in post-pandemic tourist arrivals) is almost number one in Malaysia. Tourists like to come to Sabah.
"Our instruction (to agencies) under the Home Ministry like Immigration and Customs is to provide better facilities, make it faster and easier for people to visit," he said.
He also said he had received glowing reviews from people, including the South Korean President, whose relatives had visited Sabah.
"The President said his family told him that (Sabah) was among the most beautiful places in the region, and, most importantly, they were impressed with the friendliness of Sabahans," he added.
According to the Sabah Tourism Board website, more than 1.8 million tourists, including close to 600,000 international arrivals, visited Sabah from January to September.
This accounted for RM3.95bil in tourism receipts, already surpassing last year's entire total of RM3.18bil.
The Sabah government has been pushing for a new international airport terminal and some of its government-linked companies like Qhazanah Sabah Berhad have conducted feasibility studies at Kimanis, about 80km south of the state capital.
There is also talk that the state government might propose building it in Tuaran, about 40km north of here.