Sabah’s east coast sees travel cancellations

Sabah’s east coast sees travel cancellations

KOTA KINABALU - Several travellers have reacted to the abduction in Sabah's east coast by cancelling their bookings at resorts there.

Industry players said the cancellations particularly affected resorts in Pom Pom Island, where Taiwanese tourist Chang An Wei, 58, was abducted while her husband Hsu Li Min, 57, was shot dead on Friday.

Resort bookings especially around Semporna were definitely affected, said a tour company official.

He said travel trade players from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan had been expressing their concern about safety in Sabah's east coast.

"We anticipate cancellations over the next few weeks but this is likely to be a temporary reaction," the official said.

Sabah Hotel Association president Christopher Chan said hotels in Semporna and nearby Lahad Datu had also experienced cancellations following the incident.

He said hotels in other parts of the state, including Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Tawau, had not been affected.

However, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) vice-president K.L. Tan said it was business as usual for Sabah's tourism industry as a whole.

"We have received many inquiries about the situation. But there have been no cancellations so far," he said.

"This is an isolated incident and security challenges are everywhere. We need to minimise risks and move on."

He said other well-known travel destinations such as the United States, the Philippines and Bali in Indonesia had their own risks as well.

MATTA president Hamzah Rahmat said tourist arrivals to that particular part of the country were almost negligi­ble.

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