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  • Wartawan Nabalu News

Sabah sees surge in Chinese tourists post pandemic

4 Sept 2023

By Wartawan Nabalu News

KOTA KINABALU: Latest statistics from January to June 2023 indicate that Sabah has welcomed more than 1.6 million tourists from around the world, with over 17,000 Chinese tourists among them, said Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Christina Liew.

She said it was an encouraging sign of the increasing number of Chinese tourists choosing to visit Sabah post Covid-19 pandemic.

"This has injected vitality and hope into our tourism industry. It demonstrates that despite facing global challenges, Sabah continues to maintain a strong appeal, attracting visitors from around the world to experience our natural beauty and unique culture," she said in her address at the closing ceremony of the "2023 Chinese Cultural Holiday Programme - Sabah, Malaysia" at the Kian Kok Middle School, here, on Sunday. It was organised by the Malaysia-China Friendship Association Sabah.

Liew, who is also Api Api Assemblywoman, described the inaugural event as a charming cultural festival which has not only enriched Sabah's cultural heritage but has also strengthened the friendship ties between Malaysia and China, and invoked deep reflections.

"Notably, this year marks the 49th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China, as well as the 10th anniversary of the comprehensive strategic partnership between our two countries and the Belt and Road Initiative. The timing of this event is closely intertwined with the history of our two nations," she said, adding it presented them with a great opportunity to better understand one another and cherish their friendship.

The text of Liew's speech was read by her Political Secretary Vivien Lee.

On the resounding success of the "Chinese Cultural Holiday Programme", the Minister said Sabah teachers and students alike have immersed themselves in the ocean of traditional Chinese arts, music, and crafts, experiencing the profound and diverse world of Chinese culture.

Liew, meanwhile, paid tribute to a teaching team of about 15 teachers (from Shanxi Province) who employed an enjoyable teaching approach to impart various aspects of traditional Chinese culture and arts, including traditional martial arts, folk dances, percussion music, Chinese classical music, paper cutting, dough sculpture, Chinese knotting, calligraphy, and Chinese painting to more than 400 primary and secondary school students from Sabah.

Noting that the students have greatly benefited from this immersive experience, she expressed her gratitude to all the teachers who have dedicated themselves to this program, as well as to the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Kian Kok Middle School, Datuk Clement Yeh and all the teachers from the school who have actively participated and contributed to the success of this event.

Liew also commended the Malaysia-China Friendship Association Sabah for their tireless efforts in promoting business, cultural exchange, and tourism between Malaysia and China, making significant contributions to these fields.

"This remarkable event has not only enriched the lives of our Chinese students, but has also provided an opportunity for non-Chinese students to understand and appreciate traditional Chinese culture, promote the culture, and accelerate the exchange of Chinese culture with the world.

"Let us continue to work hand in hand to make greater contributions to the development of Malaysia-China friendship, and to build cultural bridges that connect our hearts," she concluded.

Also present were the Consul General of China in Kota Kinabalu, Dr Huang Shifang, Vice Chairman Li Guizeng of Shanxi Overseas Friendship Association, and representatives from the Board of Directors of Kian Kok Middle School.

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