Len Liew, chief executive officer of ABC Tours Sendirian Berhad

Quality, not quantity

By Nurhafizah Yusof
Pictures by Ille Tugimin

Having more tourists may not be enough

Masidi Manjun

Sabah has been winning international tourism awards. And tourists to the north Borneo island state have increased markedly. But does having more of them mean more money for the industry? Len Liew, 48, the chief executive officer of ABC Tours Sendirian Berhad, doesn’t think so. “The statistics do not reflect that we are any better,” he says.

And rightly so. Sabah’s tourism income has been hovering at 4 billion ringgit ($1.3 billion) for the past two years despite having more visitors. There were 2.5m tourists last year against 2.3m in 2009 – an increase of 200,000. The state expects 2.6m of them this year, according to Masidi Manjun, minister of tourism, culture and environment.

He says there were about 250,000 more tourists in the first nine months of this year (1,909,430) compared to those of last year (1,660,310), with Chinese tourists rising by 38%.

Abidin MadingkirLiew says a better yardstick to measure the health of the tourism industry is to have statistics on how much each tourist spends in Sabah. “It is better for us to have quality rather than quantity,” he says, adding that the state needs to have “a different strategy” to attract “higher margin tourists” since tourism in Sabah is “purely nature based”.

Kota Kinabalu City Hall has just won an award for “Best Tourism CD promotion” from the Korean Tourism Promotional Organization (TPO) for producing a compact disc to promote tourism in Kota Kinabalu. Mayor Abidin Madingkir handed the award to Masidi at a recent tea party in Kota Kinabalu to celebrate his City Hall’s achievement.

He says although tourism is not City Hall’s business, it has done its part to support the government’s tourism promotion. It is making Kota Kinabalu clean, beautiful and safe to help tourism and prosper the people. – Insight Sabah

Posted on November 18, 2011

Malay 中文 Kadazan
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  • You want high-end tourists?

    By Tadpole on 01-12-2011 02:30 pm

    Yeah.. very smart, "we need more richer and high-end tourists!" Many tour operators say the same thing. But when government busy bringing more & more tourists to Sabah every year, how much does the tourism industry improve over the years? Many travel agents don't even have a website, not to mention  overpriced destinations and our mediocre service standard. Those super-rich people are really spoiled. Probably you can ask our tourism players, how many of them can live up to the standard of high-end tourists? Do they deserve 5-star tourists with their 1-star service?  :)

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