KUALA LUMPUR: The launch of Sabah Tourism’s new destination brand tagline “Feel Sabah, North Borneo” at the MATTA Travel Fair here will give a huge impetus to the growth of domestic tourism, says Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Christina Liew.
She stressed that the domestic market is still an important economic segment for Sabah, while we welcome international tourists from all parts of the globe.
Citing statistics from Sabah Tourism Board’s (STB) Research Division, Liew said domestic travellers contributed two-thirds of the total tourism arrivals in Sabah prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“For the pre-pandemic scenario, the total tourism arrivals in Sabah was 4.19 million visitors in 2019. That year, domestic tourism contributed 2.72 million arrivals while the figure for international arrivals stood at 1.47 million visitors.
“Last year, 80pc of the 1.72 million arrivals to Sabah constituted domestic visitors. Based on the Domestic Visitors Profile survey in 2019, one finding is that for domestic visitors, shopping activity is considered high compared with international visitors,” she said after launching “Feel Sabah, North Borneo” on the first day of MATTA Travel Fair on Friday.
To mark the occasion, the Minister flagged off 10 of 100 e-hailing cars highlighting Sabah’s new identity at the Malaysia International Trade & Exhibition Centre (MITEC). According to her, all these vehicles bearing the “Feel Sabah, North Borneo” sticker will be around the Klang Valley area for three months as a promotion strategy.
The Kuala Lumpur MATTA Travel Fair is one of the largest and most anticipated travel fairs by consumers in Malaysia. “What better venue than this leading Travel Fair for STB to launch Sabah’s new destination rebranding – ‘Feel Sabah, North Borneo’. This motto is punchy enough to capture people’s attention,” Liew remarked.
“Malaysians in other parts of the country will get to embrace this new promotional theme. I believe many among the younger generation may not be aware of Sabah’s historical and colourful past. So, while they feel Sabah’s beautiful nature, warm hospitality, cultural heritage and iconic wildlife, they also get to experience treasures of yesteryear such as antiques dating back to the North Borneo era. Furthermore, this emphasises our geographical location as a Malaysian State on the Northern part of Borneo Island.”
STB is under the purview of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment.
The Sabah delegation comprised Assistant Minister cum STB Chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, the Ministry’s Deputy Permanent Secretary I Mary Malangking, STB Chief Executive Officer Noredah Othman as well as STB officials.
Meanwhile, STB is also participating in the MATTA Travel Fair with 45 holiday-makers and accommodation providers from Sabah offering holiday packages in Sabah at attractive prices.
The Sabah Tourism booth is located at Booth no. 1E01, 1F01-1F16 and 1G01-1G08 at the Domestic Hall Level 1, Malaysia International Trade & Exhibition Centre (MITEC) Kuala Lumpur.
All are invited and admission is free. STB is also collaborating with Boost e-wallet to provide RM80 credit that can be used at the Sabah stand over the duration of MATTA.