Sabah eyeing Middle East tourism market

Sabah Tourism Board chief executive officer Julinus Jeffrey Jimit (centre) and senior marketing manager Humphrey Ginibun (second left) meeting Qatar Airways senior vice president (Eastern Region) Marwan Kolelist (second right). Also in photo are Qatar Airways head of digital and Marketing, Alan Lee (left) and regional marketing manager, Oommen Kuruvilla (right).

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah's allure as a holiday destination is gaining traction among travellers from the Middle East, going by its prominence at a travel trade show in Dubai earlier this month.

This comes in the wake of fruitful discussions between the Sabah Tourism Board delegation led by chief executive officer Julinus Jeffery Jimit and key industry leaders at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM).

Also present were STB senior marketing manager Humphrey Ginibun and assistant marketing manager Siti Fatimah Abdul Rahman.

The discussions were held with representatives from Holidays by FlyDubai and Saudia Holidays to promote Sabah as a premier vacation destination in Malaysia.

"Future initiatives may involve leveraging social media influencers to showcase authentic experiences and attract a diverse audience, including families, friends, and followers," said Jimit.

Prior to this, Qatar Airways Asia senior vice president Marwan Koleilat drew parallels between Sabah and renowned destinations like the Maldives, emphasising its affordability.

To capitalise on this interest, the Sabah Tourism Board collaborated with Qatar Airways for a month-long awareness campaign from December 2023 to January 2024, aimed at introducing Sabah to the airline's clientele.

This partnership set the stage for increased visibility and interest among Middle Eastern travelers, further solidified by a joint marketing campaign with Discover Qatar.

At the ATM, Sabah's appeal to various traveler demographics, including families, honeymooners, nature enthusiasts, wildlife lovers, diving enthusiasts, and students seeking educational experiences were highlighted

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