Sabah’s Tourism Boom In The Lead-Up To Visit Malaysia 2020

Exciting developments are happening in Sabah as part of Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020). For starters, the state will host the PATA Adventure Travel Conference and Mart next year, marking the first time the prestigious affair is held in the country.

The ninth iteration of the event by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) will take place in Kota Kinabalu from Feb 12 to 14. It is the region’s leading travel trade event dedicated to the adventure travel industry.

This three-day niche event, with both conference and travel mart components, brings together tourism professionals involved in adventure travel and responsible tourism.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi said this is a “golden opportunity” to showcase Kota Kinabalu to the world.

“We look forward to welcoming our international guests to Malaysia for a fruitful meeting and explorations of the beauty and rugged landscapes of Sabah,” he said.

Sabah is popular for outdoor activities. Among its natural assets are Mount Kinabalu, one of South-East Asia’s highest peaks; the Sipadan island dive site with its great marine biodiversity; lush rainforests with unique flora and fauna including the Rafflesia, the world’s largest flower.

Poring Canopy Walkway is said to be the highest in the state of Sabah. Photo: Tourism Malaysia

In a separate development, Tourism Malaysia recently introduced a special edition booklet entitled Best of Sabah Holiday Packages 2019/2020.

The publication provides new holiday ideas in Sabah and explores the state’s lesser-known tourist attractions. Some featured highlights include the state’s rugged adventures, colourful culture and exotic cuisines.

The initiative is the result of partnerships between Sabah Tourism Board, MATTA Sabah Chapter, Sabah Tourism Associa­tion, Sabah Homestay Association and local airlines in the state.

The booklet is available on the Tourism Malaysia website for download.

As part of Visit Malaysia 2020, the government is targeting 30 million international tourists and RM100bil in tourist receipts.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng at a recent event in Sabah, had expressed confidence that the state would contribute to the growth in tourist numbers.

Last year the government in Budget 2019 agreed to return 50% of the tourism tax proceeds of the respective states.

As of March 2019, of the RM67.7mil distributed to all state governments, Sabah received the highest allocation of RM12.7mil.

“Sabah and Sarawak will continue receiving the biggest allocation in Budget 2020, as in the previous budget,” Lim said.

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