Sabah continues to draw tourists despite incidents

KOTA KINABALU - Sabah recorded an increase in tourist arrivals last year despite several incidents, including the Sulu gunmen intrusion and the abduction of a Taiwanese tourist in the east coast.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said that 2.5 million tourists visited Sabah in the first 10 months of 2013, which represented an increase of 21 per cent over the same period in 2012.

Masidi added that the bulk of visitors were Malaysians from the peninsula and Sarawak totalling some 1.8 million, an increase of 17 per cent.

However, the largest increase in arrivals were foreign tourists, especially those from Hong Kong and China, with their numbers going up by nearly 85 per cent.

"A total of 307,325 people from Hong and China visited Sabah.

"They arrived via 237 charter flights, the highest in the country to date," he said during the 2014 New Year celebration countdown here.

Launching the event, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said the number of tourist arrivals in the state were expected to increase to 3.4 million this year.