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More five-star hotels approved in Sabah: Liew

KOTA KINABALU: The State Government has approved the construction of more five-star hotels here and in the East Coast of Sabah in tandem with the tourism boom, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew.

She made the announcement at the Matta (Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents) Raya Open House celebration at Le Meridien Hotel on Sunday night.

Liew (seated at centre), flanked by Tan and Chin, with Krishna (seated 2nd left), Isham (4th left), other guests, Matta officials and members. SNT Pix/Credit Tourism Ministry

“This is in view of the rising demand for hotel accommodation. International tourists are coming to Sabah in droves. It’s incredible, simply, we just don’t have enough hotel rooms,” she said.

Liew, who is also Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, said she was told by an incentive tour package organiser from China that the latter preferred hotels that can provide accommodation for two to three thousand clients at any one time.

“For her incentive reward trips to Sabah, she is not in favour of spreading out her guests in different hotels.”

The celebration was organised by Matta (Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents) Sabah Chapter led by its Chairman Lawrence Chin.

Turning to the members of Matta, Liew said while the Government formulate policies favourable to the tourism industry, it is incumbent upon all tourism players to do their part to ensure success of the industry.

“The Government can only facilitate. It is you (tour operators) who will make a difference by luring tourists here . All of you are Sabah’s tourism ambassadors.

“Do promote the State’s attractions to the international community,” she added.

Meanwhile, President of Matta, Datuk Tan Kok Liang assured tour and travel agents that the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac), Datuk Isham Ishak will address pressing issues confronting the tourism sector in Sabah.

“I have brought issues such as illegal tour operators and zero-dollar tourism to his attention,” he said while urging the Sec-Gen to provide funding for tourism projects in Sabah.

Isham, who also spoke, commended Sabah for its high performance in terms of tourist arrivals under the leadership of Liew. “In this respect, Sabah can be a leader to other states in the country from the tourism perspective.”

Also present were the Consul-General of the Republic of Indonesia in Kota Kinabalu, His Excellency Krishna Djelani, Consul of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu, Wang Kai, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) Sabah Office Director, Ag Ahmad Zaki Abu Bakar, KKIA Airport Manager Sunif Naiman, Sabah Tourism Board (STB) General Manager, Noredah Othman, Deputy General Manager Kevin Chin and Senior Marketing Manager Tay Shu Lan.-SabahNewsToday