Estimated RM7.7bil in tourism revenue last year

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah should not be comfortable with the increase in tourist arrivals as there are still problems that need attention to ensure the industry’s growth said State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.

Masidi said two days ago he had mentioned that currently there are 14 foreign airlines travelling from overseas to Kota Kinabalu and 178 flights per week which clearly shows the growing number of flights which is believed to have overtaken Penang.

“The forecast for total arrivals to Sabah for 2017 is very good. We are expecting the final number for last year’s arrivals very soon which will be around 3.65 million, bringing an estimated value of RM7.7 billion – the best so far for Sabah,” he said.

However, he said the numbers should not be taken as rate of success but instead into something profitable for the State, especially for the tourism industry.

“Numbers does not mean success. Numbers must be transferred into something profitable for everyone, for MAS and for Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB),” he said during the Welcoming Dinner of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Airbus A350XWB, here, Tuesday.

He also said that the Kota Kinabalu International Airport is one of the most profitable airport in the country.

International flights, especially from the North, usually arrive after midnight but due to the lack of working Immigration officers after 12am, there will be long queues for immigration clearance.

“We need to increase the numbers of immigration officers to work at the airport after 12am,” he added.

Masidi said that the State Government is pushing aggressively alongside the Sabah Tourism Board to establish more hotels to cater for the tourist influx, especially from the North as it would hurt the image of the State’s tourism if not taken seriously.

“We have to fix this problems because when room are scarce, it would also give the wrong impression to overseas visitors and they would opt for another destination,” he said.

Following the rural tourism that was launched last year, he reminded locals to produce more products that could only be discovered in Sabah as it would be one of the main attractions for visitors to come to the state aside from taking part in the “lung-cleansing” activities by visiting rural areas such as Kadamaian, Ranau, Tambunan and Kiulu.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, MAS launched its new A350XWB by flying it to Kota Kinabalu from Kuala Lumpur.

The aircraft will serve the London route, replacing the A380, from Jan 15 on a scheduled basis.

Chief Commercial Officer Arved Von Zur Muehlen said that the new aircraft will be conducting the route as it is a more economical aircraft and has ordered six more which will be expected to be delivered by the second half of this year. – Jeremy S Zabala


Source: Daily Express

State govt now consulted on rural projects via joint committee

KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Haji Aman said its close cooperation between state ministries and their federal counterparts was vital to successful planning and implementation of projects in the state.

He therefore welcomed the effort by the federal Regional and Rural Development Ministry under its minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to jointly chair a meeting with its state counterpart on rural development projects for Sabah

“We commend this initiative by KKLW, which for the first time has invited me to jointly chair a meeting on rural development projects for Sabah,” he told reporters after jointly chairing the Rural and Regional Development Ministry – Sabah State Government Project Planning and Monitoring Main Joint Committee here yesterday.

Musa, who is also Finance Minister, said that for rural projects to really benefit the rakyat, consultation and close cooperation was vital between state and federal ministries.

“They (federal ministries) are not psychic. How would they really know what Sabah needs without consulting us? So I really appreciate the move on setting up the joint committee, which is being done the first time by the present minister,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ismail said the state government would always be consulted on any development programs under his ministry to be implemented in Sabah.

“The state government knows best the development needs of Sabah and therefore, what projects should be implemented,” he said.

He said all projects under the Rural Development Ministry must undergo a joint working committee consisting both representatives from the state and federal ministries.


Source: Borneo Post

Sabah Cement, Ecooils ink agreement for ecologically-processed pozzolan

KOTA KINABALU: Cement Industries (Sabah) Sdn Bhd (Sabah Cement) has signed a sales and purchase agreement with Ecooils Sdn Bhd for a 10-year supply of ecologically-processed pozzolan for use in Sabah Cement’s products.

Sabah Cement chief executive officer, Bahrul Razha Chuprat, said the processed pozzolan material, an oil palm by-product, would enable the company to produce its blended cement product for infrastructural projects in Sabah.

“By producing the blended cement product, Sabah Cement can also realise the government’s aspiration to produce environmental-friendly products by recycling waste products,” he said at the signing ceremony yesterday.

Sabah Cement chairman, Datuk Samsuddin Yahya, and Ecooils’ director, Datuk John Maluda, signed the agreement.

Also present to witness the signing ceremony was Sabah Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah, who is also State Industrial Development Minister.

Bahrul Razha said Sabah Cement would buy 10,000 metric tonnes of eco-processed pozzolan a year from Ecooils’ factory at the Palm Oil Industrial Cluster in Lahad Datu to be processed into its blended cement product at the company’s Bulk Cement Terminal in Lahad Datu.

He said Sabah Cement invested RM5 million in machines and equipment for cement-processing at the terminal, which was expected to be operational by year-end.

“As a state government-linked company, Sabah Cement will strive to fulfil customer requirements and satisfaction by producing various types of quality cement to meet the specific needs of the construction sector in Sabah,” he said.

Tan said infrastructure was an important driver for the growth of economy of any region and a vibrant construction industry was vital towards achieving the 11th Malaysia Plan and the Economic Transformation Programme.

He said the construction industry has become significantly crucial to the Malaysian economy and was expected to contribute 5.5 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product by 2020.

“Sabah has contributed 3.9 per cent to that percentage in 2016 and today, we are already seeing intense demand for infrastructure development in Sabah, such as the Pan Borneo Highway.

“This rise in demand will in turn require construction players and the workforce to continually raise its capabilities,” he said.

However, Tan said, it was also critical for the industry to maintain a healthy level of development to improve its efficiency and minimise negative impact on the environment as a whole. — Bernama


Source: Borneo Post

More work needed even though KKIA second busiest airport – Masidi

KOTA KINABALU: Although Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) is now rated as the second busiest airport in the country, there are still work that needs to be done to ensure that the statistics can be translated into success.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun revealed that there are now 14 foreign airlines that fly to Sabah using KKIA and on a weekly basis, there are 178 international and 418 domestic flights operating out of KKIA.

“If you sum up the two figures, I believe we have overtaken Penang International Airport as the second busiest airport in Malaysia, after Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

“This, however, is not something that we want to gloat as numbers do not always necessarily equate to success. Numbers must be translated into profitable ventures,” he said when hosting a dinner for the Malaysian Airlines Partners A350 at The Pacific Sutera on Tuesday.

Masidi said it important for Sabah to showcase to the world that our airport is one that is at par with some of the best airports in the region, considering the fact that KKIA is very clean and efficient.

He cited Singapore Changi Airport as a good example, adding that KKIA could achieve the same as the former if it were to have the proper equipment and machineries.

Even though KKIA is not even half the size of KLIA, it had managed to be one of the most profitable airports in the country, he said.

“If you look at the entire perspective on this part of the world, you will realize that the future of the tourism industry is in the north … but, of course, we are targeting the Europeans as well.

“The overall marketing strategy for us in Sabah is that, there should be, if possible, only 15 percent of passengers in each tourism basket of any particular region.

“However, due to the influx of China visitors, they have now accounted for up to 34 to 35 percent of the total number of international arrivals…and more are expected,” he said.

Masidi rues that the lack of four and five-star hotels in the state may affect the arrival rate of Chinese tourists.

“When rooms are scarce, it can give a wrong impression to potential visitors. They may opt for other destinations if there are no available rooms in Kota Kinabalu,” Masidi said, adding that the need for more hotels to be constructed in the state had been addressed to the state cabinet.

“In 2016, we thought that we had broken the record, but preliminary records have indicated that we have done even better last year, in 2017, at least, in terms of the number of tourist arrivals.

“The point that I am trying to tell you is that there is no limit to what we can achieve if all the fundamentals (that we have) are well taken care of,” Masidi said, adding that the roles of Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB), Malaysian Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) and Sabah Tourism Board (STB) would be vital in improving the state’s tourism industry.

Masidi, who was a passenger on the MAB Airbus A350 which conducted its test flight from KLIA to KKIA on Wednesday, said he was pleased with the overall experience of the flight.

“We are fortunate and honoured that you have chosen Kota Kinabalu as a destination to try out your new aircraft,” he added.

Also present at the dinner event were MAB chief commercial officer Arved von Zur Muehlen and Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.


Source: Borneo Post

KK-Beijing flights set to start Jan 16

KOTA KINABALU, Dec 19 — Direct flights linking Sabah’s capital to Beijing, China will commence in January and are set to bolster the state’s tourism sector.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the new air link is expected to begin on January 16, and noted that China was already one of the state’s biggest source of visitors.

“But the direct flight from China will be a game changer. There will be an opportunity to improve on the quality of tourists as we can tap into the rich Northern Chinese market from Beijing,” he said at his ministry’s Christmas celebration here today.

He added that details were being finalised and the necessary paperwork being prepared for Xiamen Air to begin flying the route.

Sabah is additionally expected to add at least three more Chinese cities — Changsha, Tianjin and Guangzhou — to its air connectivity network next year.

Masidi also announced today that Indonesia-based airline, Batik Air, will commence direct flights between Kota Kinabalu and Jakarta beginning tomorrow, December 20.

“This is good news for us, not just for the tourism industry but also speaks volumes about their faith in us and how stable we are as a state,” he said.

AirAsia previously had direct flights running the route, but these were cancelled.


Source: Malay Mail Online