KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Tourism Board (STB) chairman Datuk Seri Tengku Dr Zainal Adlin is confident that the 2.63 million tourist arrival target this year would be achieved as the arrivals to the state had shot up by 15 per cent from January to September.
He said about RM4 billion income had been contributed by the tourism industry where most of the tourists were domestic tourists.
“China and Hong Kong tourist arrivals had increased 38 per cent, but at the same time we are encouraging domestic tourists.
“Apart from China and Hong Kong, Japan and Australia had also shown very positive increases,” he said at a press conference after the Karnival Pelancongan Tarian Cuti-Cuti Malaysia at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Sports Complex.
He said tourist arrivals in the state had always been good where 50 per cent of them were repeat tourists.
During the event yesterday, about 1,300 students, homestay operators and civil servants around the state participated in the carnival where they performed traditional dances such as the Joget, Sumazau and many others.
The programme was in collaboration with the tourism ministry aimed to foster closer relationship among Malaysians who are living in a multiracial community.
Adlin said the location was chosen by tourism minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.
Tourism Ministry Sabah Office director Nely Nasir who also attended the event yesterday said the carnival showed the commitment of several individuals and organisations in increasing tourist arrivals in the state.
She said many participants at the carnival were from Sandakan, Kudat and Papar.
Meanwhile, UMS vice-chancellor Datuk Seri Panglima Kamaruzaman Ampon said the university had always encouraged healthy activities among the students.
He said the many activities included mountain climbing, jogging and running.
The dance carnival, he said would be another platform for the students to learn about other ethnic dances through fun activities.