Sabah aims for 1.7 million tourists arrival in 2023 – CM Hajiji
19 June 2023
By Wartawan Nabalu News
KOTA KINABALU: The state government is optimistic that it can attract more than 1.7 million tourists this year as the state's tourism industry recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.
He said the state recorded 792,899 visitors from January to April, a 94.1 per cent increase compared to the same period last year, with 565,424 domestic and 227,475 international tourists.
"This bodes well for Sabah as we continue to push for more air connectivity into Sabah to add to the current weekly 100 international flights with a total seat capacity of 18,164 and domestic flights of 366 with total seat capacity of 60,303,” he said in a statement.
He added that the state government was also giving priority to developing and upskilling community-based tourism (CoBT) operators in the rural areas to help them benefit from the economic opportunities.
He said CoBT had been adopted in many districts in Sabah, including in the interior and Keningau, which offered various attractions for adventure, culture, environment, food and history enthusiasts.
Hajiji cited the success of two pilot CoBT projects in Kiulu, Tuaran and Kadamaian, Kota Belud in 2019, which generated RM5.45 million and RM2.57 million in revenue respectively and attracted 54,000 and 217,000 visitors respectively.
He said the state government had allocated RM10 million under its Sabah New Deal initiative to repair basic tourism infrastructure in the rural areas, benefiting not only Keningau but also Nabawan, Tenom and Tambunan.
"We are confident that by 2030, Sabah will achieve 80 per cent Asean standard compliance target for CoBT in Sabah,” he said.
He also noted that Sabah had won various awards for its tourism products and services, such as the Asean Community Based Tourism Awards, Asean Homestay Award, the World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO) Best Village Tourism and the World Crafts Council Award of Excellence for Handicraft, Asia Pacific Region.
"We are also proud because other states in Malaysia like Terengganu, Melaka, Sarawak and Pahang have looked to Sabah to learn from our success in developing the rural tourism industry," he said.