Sabah set for new tourist influx record

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah tourism sector is set to create a new record this year as the influx of tourists continue to soar, probably hitting the 3.7 million mark surpassing the targeted 3.55 million.

“In a few weeks (Dec 20), Batik Air (Indonesia) will commence Jakarta-Kota Kinabalu sector, making it the 14th international airline to be served by Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA),” said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.

“In the first quarter next year, Kota Kinabalu will be connected to Chengdu, Changsha and Tianjin that used to be charter flights now coming in as scheduled flights,” Masidi disclosed during the bi-annual 11th Sabah Tourism Awards 2017 at a resort here on Saturday.

He also shared that Consul-General of China in Kota Kinabalu Liang Caide is working to mount a scheduled flight from Beijing to Kota Kinabalu either by this month or early next year.

“This is good news for us because the Chinese government is making the arrangement for us and it will be operated by Xiamen Airlines.

“I take this opportunity to thank the Consul-General of China in Kota Kinabalu for giving us the cooperation to bring in more Chinese tourists to Sabah.

“This is another challenge as we are fast running out of hotel rooms; so my message to investors is please facilitate in building 4-5 star hotels because there is a real need for it,” said Masidi.

Up to Oct this year, he said KKIA has welcomed 190 chartered flights from China, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan making it the second busiest after Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

KKIA is serving 171 international and 410 domestic flights weekly, connected to 16 international destinations via 13 foreign airlines. China and South Korea are the busiest routes with 84 and 35 flights respective per week, he said.

“Cruise season have started. Last week over 3,000 passengers from the European cruise arrived at our port in Kota Kinabalu.

“We are expecting three more cruises by year-end or at least l0,000 more arrivals from all over the world,” said Masidi.

“We will not stop there. When the Sabah International Convention Centre is completed in 2018, the business events industry in Sabah will progress dramatically as the centre had 5,000 seating capacity,” said Masidi.

As of Sept this year, he said Sabah had received closed to 30,000 MICE arrivals generating a revenue of some RM78 million, reflected the readiness of Sabah to stage large scale events and for this, the Sabah Tourism Board will set up MICE section next year.

“By 2020, business events are expected to contribute RM3.9 billion in gross national income for Malaysia or 2.9 million extra business events visitors. Sabah will have a share of the market by next year,” Masidi revealed.

He said 2016 was regarded as an outstanding year for Sabah tourism chalking up 3.427 million arrivals eclipsed the 2013 results, dubbed as ‘best year in tourism’.

“We are expecting better results this year as up to Oct this year, the arrivals went up by 11.8 per cent to 2,929,181 million compared to the same period of last year, he said.

From Jan to Oct, he said Sabah recorded an increase of 7.67 per cent to 1,004,354 international arrivals compared to last year.

Domestic arrivals went up by 10.5 percent to 2,011,258 so far. The tourism receipts have been estimated at RM6.396 billion, a robust nine per cent growth compared to the same period last year, he said.

“We commend the industry’s leaders in service excellence and recognise those that are raising the bar in terms of enhancing visitor experiences.

“The award is a tangible symbol of recognition for your accomplishment. It is a competitive world and we need to be on the move all the time, not be complacent,” Masidi said.

He said quality service culture is essential to sustain and drive the industry. “We need to inculcate the service oriented community. I hope to see this become a reality in years to come,” he said.

Meanwhile, Masidi said next year the industry will emphasis on rural tourism as Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Haji Aman has set aside a fund in the State 2018 Budget to promote that sector.

“We have achieved a good level in the urban areas and now we want to introduce the rural areas to visitors to allow Sabahans in the interior to have a share in the spillover we are enjoying now.

“We have the foreign market for the rural tourism,” he said.

The highlight of the evening was the presentations of the Minister’s Special Awards which respectively went to Sipadan-Mabul Resort chief executive officer Robert Lo and Kadamaian Tourism Association chairman Walter Duis Kandayon who received on behalf of their members.

“These rural folks at Kadamaian are an exemplary group that fully embraced digital marketing to promote their destination.

“There is no escaping the digital era. Even tonight (Saturday), the event can be seen live by our partners overseas and on your phones. This is possible with just a fraction of the cost compared to broadcasting in the past,” Masidi said.

Lo is also the founder and president of Miss Scuba International and he was recognised for his efforts in using the beauty pageant to raise the awareness on the threat of ocean pollution to our planet.


Source: New Sabah Times

15,000 Sabah jobs linked to coffee

Kota Kinabalu: The local coffee industry is contributing a big chunk to the economic pie with some 15,000 locals being employed throughout its value chain generating over RM250 million of the State’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Deputy Chief Minister-cum-Industrial Development Minister Datuk Raymond Tan said agriculture, manufacturing and general service comprised almost 67 per cent of Sabah’s GDP in 2016, with quantifiable value of RM49 billion.

He said the local coffee industry also played an important role in servicing the ever growing tourism sector; not counting the exports of products once they return to their respective home countries.

“It goes without saying that a successful coffee culture will serve as lead for Sabah’s other agricultural products such as tea and cocoa to go higher too.

“My Ministry has tirelessly focused on Sabah’s industrial development by looking into the complete value chain, from raw materials to manufacturing and service at the other end.

“We believe Sabah should utilise its natural advantage of abundant resources and value-add to transform into products and services.

“Sabah imports almost 1,000 tonnes of raw coffee beans yearly, as needed by over 15 factories big and small, to churn out products for consumers and over 3,000 food and beverage outlets to serve customers.

“This is expected to grow further with locals demanding better products and better service quality, as well as higher expectations from tourists visiting the State,” he said at the opening of the second KK Coffee Festival at Suria Sabah Shopping Mall, here, Friday.

According to him, his Ministry welcomes proposals for collaboration or assistance, if needed, in expanding the value chain in the areas of manufacturing, logistical support and any services to improve efficiency and productivity.

Tan also congratulated Borneo Cafe Alliance, a subdivision of Federation of Sabah Industries, in organising the successful event which, according to him, reflected the entire coffee value chain.

“Your event certainly assists in bringing more sophistication to the industry by not just providing a platform to showcase latest products and promote higher service quality but also by having competition of this sort to bring up the skill levels of local coffee players.

“This exposition event together with the Latte Art competition, I’m sure, have elevated the coffee standard here in Sabah to the benefit of not just locals but international tourists.

“Therefore, I encourage Borneo Cafe Alliance to organise more events to better serve Sabah’s food and beverage industry,” said Tan.

Meanwhile, Borneo Cafe Alliance Chairman Frankie Liew said there were 21 exhibitors occupying 30 booths, covering raw materials and equipment suppliers and cafes.

“This event presents a good spectrum of products and services to guests as well as visitors in terms of exposure, increasing awareness and elevating the standard of coffee in the State and beyond.

“We believe that the coffee industry contributes tremendously to the State’s economy as well as completes the value chain from plantation to production to services,” he said.

Also present at the event was Federation of Sabah Industries (FSI) Honorary Life President Datuk Seri Wong Khen Thau. – Cynthia D Baga


Source: Daily Express

Tourism rakes in RM6.39 bln in first 10 months for Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: The tourism sector in Sabah raked in a revenue of RM6.396 billion in the first 10 months of 2017, says Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.

He said from the revenue earned, the state government paid RM741.15 million to the federal government in the form of corporate and income tax, including Goods and Services Tax, while another RM2.915 billion was injected into the state economy.

He said the remainder comprised company profits (25 per cent) and foreign remittance (20 per cent).

“Although the tourism sector does not contribute directly to the state government, it is still an important sector as it has huge impact on the state economy via spillover effects like employment opportunities for locals in the services sector,” Masidi said in the ministry’s winding-up speech at the state assembly here yesterday.

Masidi said in order to enhance the tourism sector, the ministry had allocated RM12 million next year to upgrade tourism facilities at resorts in rural areas. — Bernama


Source: Borneo Post

SICC expected to catalyse Sabah’s economic growth

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) under construction here will catalyse Sabah’s economic growth and play a key role in high-impact tourism.

The project, owned by state-owned Yayasan Sabah Group (YSG), is being built on a 15-acre reclaimed site adjacent to the soon-to-be relocated Kota Kinabalu Port.

The convention centre, the first of its kind in terms of scale in Sabah, is one of the strategic projects to enhance YSG’s impact on Sabah’s development, its director Datuk Sapawi Ahmad said yesterday.

He was speaking during a 3-in-1 event here witnessed by Chief Minister cum Yayasan Sabah Chairman Datuk Musa Haji Aman. The event saw the signing of a multi-party memorandum of understanding, a Loan Syndication Mandate and the presentation of dividends to YSG.

Under the MOU, YSG’s wholly-owned subsidiary Innoprise Corporation Sdn Bhd will collaborate with WH Vector Sdn Bhd and Koperasi Agrotek Malaysia Berhad in the development of the Papar Smart City project. Koperasi Agrotek will act as consultant and developer for this project.

The loan syndication will see state-owned Sabah Development Bank and AmInvestment Bank Berhad leading a syndicated loan to finance the completion of SICC which, when completed, will be the biggest in Borneo.

SICC is envisaged to be the main driver to attract MICE (meetings, incentives, conference and exhibition) visitors. The adjacent Kota Kinabalu Convention City (KKCC) built by renowned Mah Sing Group, will have three hotels and high-end shopping, office and residential components to complement SICC. KKCC has a gross development value of RM1.4 billion. It is connected to SICC via a covered sky bridge.

Aside from KKCC, SICC will also be complemented the proposed world class cruise terminal and marina. According to state government figures, these facilities are expected to generate RM735 million in revenue from domestic tourists, RM2.3 billion from international tourists and an additional RM3.15 billion from MICE.

In the presentation of dividends, nine YSG subsidiary companies paid a combined RM44.6 million in dividends to YSG. The companies are Tanjung Aru Hotel Sdn Bhd, Benta Wawasan Sdn Bhd, NRG Consortium (Sabah) Sdn Bhd, Sabah Softwoods Berhad, Norsechem (Sabah) Sdn Bhd, Borneo Nature Tour, Innoprise Jungle Lodge, Sabah Foundation Bioscape Sdn Bhd and YSG Landscape Services Sdn Bhd.

YSG, set up not long after Sabah attained independence in 1963 and backed by rich timber concessions, is aimed at uplifting the standard of living of Malaysians in Sabah. It has an extensive business portfolio from shipping tom plantation to tourism.

“When completed, the SICC is poised to be an engine for the economic growth of the state, particularly in relation to high-impact tourism said,” said Sapawi.

Meanwhile, in applauding the financial achievements of the YSG-owned companies, Sapawi stressed on the ability of these companies to pay dividends testify to their abiding with their respective Key Performance Index (KPI).

“KPI should be maintained and enhanced to a higher level in ensuring that the subsidiaries continue to be relevant not only to the YSG but also to the people,” said Sapawi. “Indeed, the dividend will help YSG to actively continue to carry out its social programmes in improving the people’s quality of life.”


Source : New Sabah Times