Sabah government is looking to expand its touristic reach in the East coast. According to an article on the New Straits Times (NST), assistant Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Assaffal Alian said the state "should embrace" social media as it appeals to today’s travellers, directing it young people.
He also that the area from Kudat to Tawau has “great sea and beaches”. It was also stated in the article that the shipwrecks at the seabed of Kudat can be developed into dive sites and for historical visits.
A+M has contacted Sabah Tourism for comments.
In May this year, Sabah witnessed a tourism boom over the past few years. According to the Sabah Tourism Board (STB), the number of international and domestic tourist arrivals recorded from January to March 2018 was 947,621, a 5.7% increase from 896,845 during the same period last year.
Sabah’s Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun emphasised the need to pay attention to the “aggressive” tourism promotions carried out by other Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines. He added that these countries would become Sabah’s “biggest competitors” moving forward, especially Indonesia, which has numerous islands, giving it the highest potential to become the most popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia.
He also described the industry as “unpredictable”, adding that travellers’ perception dictates their travel patterns and decisions. One of the biggest challenge, according to him, is air connectivity as the tourism board has to convince foreign airlines to fly into Sabah and maintain a relationship long enough to earn a “reasonable profit” from the aviation sector, NST reported.