Published on : Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Sabah state’s tourism revenue is expected to reach RM5.7 billion this year from RM5.17 billion in 2012, due to an influx of tourist arrivals from China, said state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Masidi Manjun.
He said the state anticipates over 3.2 million visitors this year, an increase from 2.9 million previously.
“Based on our January-July figures, 49 per cent of the tourist arrivals in Sabah came from mostly China,” he told reporters after witnessing the signing of a collaborative agreement between Nestle Malaysia and Sime Darby Foundation in Kuala Lumpur on November 1.
Masidi said despite the incursion earlier this year by an armed Filipino group in the eastern coast of Sabah, the state experienced a double-digit increase in tourist arrivals from Europe, Japan and Australia.
“The quality of products in Sabah’s tourism sector overrides every other consideration. We also market the sector in areas where we have good air connectivity as 94 per cent of Sabah’s foreign tourists arrive via flights,” he added.
Meanwhile, the agreement signed today calls for both companies to jointly undertake “Project RiLeaf”, an initiative to reforest critical riparian reserves along the Kinabatangan River in Sabah.
The project aims to provide a natural buffer to filter the river of pollutants, mainly soil sediment and chemical fertiliser run-off, thereby giving it a chance to repair itself over the course of time.
It will also engage local communities and oil palm smallholders to adopt sustainable practices through awareness and knowledge sharing programmes, as well as supporting capacity building of local communities there, namely the Komuniti Anak Pokok Kinabatangan.