22nd September, 2016
By PAUL MU
KOTA KINABALU: The China market continues to play a significant role in the tourism sector of Sabah as so far they have contributed the biggest chunk of international arrivals to the state.
Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun disclosed some 48.2 per cent of the total foreign visitors to Sabah in the first six months of this year came from China.
“In term of tourism, our biggest arrival of foreign tourists is from China and the growth have been tremendous compared to the same period of last year,” revealed Masidi during the opening ceremony of the ‘2016 China Film Festival’ at MBO, Imago shopping mall on Tuesday.
The screening on Sept 20-24 was organised by Consulate General of China in Kota Kinabalu. Its consul general, Chen Peijie was present to welcome invited guests.
Masidi attributed the encouraging number of Chinese holidaying in Sabah to the efforts from Chen who played a proactive role in helping to promote the state.
“On behalf of the State government, I must thank Chen for being a proactive person, she always asks me ‘is there anything I can help?’.
“She even arranged for me to meet up with the Chinese counterpart in China to promote Sabah. And because of her assistance, we will have 60 weekly flights coming from China to Kota Kinabalu which is more than to Kuala Lumpur,” shares Masidi.
To date, he said there are five Chinese airlines flying to Kota Kinabalu excluding charter flight services.
“So far, this year we have received 64 chartered flights from China. Now, the problem is we need more rooms because I am sure and hopeful that the Chinese will continue to come,” said Masidi.
He said more hotel rooms are needed because if we do not have enough hotel rooms the tariff will continue to rise making us uncompetitive compared to others in this region.
“So, Miss Chen we need another favour from you, please get the Chinese investors here to build hotels,” called Masidi.