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Scores of tourists from China, South Korea coming during CNY

Pang (right) and Winston discussing tourism matters

28th January, 2016

By PAUL MU Paul@newsabahtimes.com.my

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is set to welcome scores of tourists from both China and South Korea during the coming Chinese New Year period.

According to Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture & Environment Datuk Pang Yuk Ming at least 30 to 40 charter flights from both China and South Korea has confirmed coming to Sabah.

Altogether we expect some 75 charter flights to land at the State Capital from January to March this year, he said when Sabah Association of Tour & Travel Agents (SATTA) chairman Dato’ Seri Winston Liaw paid a courtesy call on him at his office here recently.

“The anticipated arrival is poised to increase the number of Chinese visitors to Sabah by 300,000 people barring any unfortunate incident after it was dropped to 270,000 in 2015,” said Pang, adding that in 2014, Sabah recorded some 300,000 Chinese tourists holidaying in the State.

Based on the rapid development in the State, Pang believed that Sabah can cope with some 500,000 Chinese tourists as now Kota Kinabalu have enough four to five star hotels until 2018.

Besides that, he said the China Southern Airlines is planning to launch daily direct flight from Guangzhou to Kota Kinabalu in June this year and is expected to bring in many foreign individual tourists (FIT) to the State.

The arrival of many foreign individual tourists will provide abundant opportunities for our tour operators to generate greater income, Pang said.

He encouraged local youths to venture into the tourism industry such as setting up their own tour company to provide inbound services for the foreign individual tourists.

However, before they could start off the business they need to deposit RM200,000 as required by the Ministry of Culture & Tourism (MOCAT) before the licence is approved, Pang said.

“This amount is actually quite burdensome for the newcomers as the current economy situation makes it difficult for youths to look for capitals,” noted the assistant minister.

The State government is aware that many youths prefer to work in the tourism sector because they are not interested to work as labourers in the plantation sector while the manufacturing sector has not taken off yet, he said.

As a solution, Pang suggested the youths to set up their own small tour company where they could perhaps operate from home to take advantage of the FIT market as this segment is not served by big tour companies.

Meanwhile, the assistant minister disclosed that he had met the MOCAT general secretary in June last year and during the meeting he had appealed to the ministry to reduce the business start-up deposit threshold of RM200,000 set for Sabah to allow more youths to participate in the tourism industry.

During the courtesy call, Winston also briefed Pang on SATTA’s proposal to produce its first ever almanac book to promote tourism industry in Sabah for overseas market.

Pang also called on other non-governmental organisations to help promote Sabah through their annual souvenir programme books.

“The more promotions the better it is and we hope other organisations will play their parts to promote Sabah especially to the huge market in China because many people there have yet to hear about this State,” said Pang.

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