Sabah earned RM5mil in tourism revenue from just two large groups from China

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah earned RM5mil in tourism revenue from just two large groups of visitors from China, says Sri Pelancongan Sabah, a subsidiary of the Sabah Tourism Board (STB).

Its chairman Ken Pan Ying On said that one of the groups was here for a meeting, incentive, conference and exhibition (MICE) function.

He said the visitors stayed in Sabah for two weeks and had a packed programme, plus a company gala.

"This generated income for tourism stakeholders in Kota Kinabalu, Kundasang, Tuaran and Semporna," he said, adding that MICE groups have high spending power which can boost the local economy.

"Air connectivity has improved with more direct flights from major Chinese cities to Kota Kinabalu," he said, adding that tourists seek varied experiences.

"These include leisure tourism, sightseeing, culture, diving, mountain climbing, forest adventures and underwater world explorations. All these activities mean money spent in Sabah," he said.

He said from late February to early March, 182 tourists from the beauty industry from Wuhan, China visited the state.

"The tourists were full of praise for Sabah's rich marine resources and thoroughly enjoyed the blue skies and seas, unparalleled underwater world, and luxurious seaside resorts, coupled with very fresh seafood, in the Land Below The Wind," said Pan.

The second group comprised 450 tourists from the information technology industry in Beijing who arrived here in four batches, he said.

Pan said these visitors stayed for six consecutive nights at a local resort, where they held their company's annual gala.

Liew said that this proved that Sabah was gaining momentum as a preferred MICE destination.

"Now that we have established the Sabah Convention Bureau, we expect more MICE groups from China, among other countries, to visit Sabah this year," said Liew.

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