KUCHING: The state can expect higher Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contribution from the tourism industry over the next five years, said Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg.
The acquisition of majority shares in MASwings, which is currently under negotiation, would contribute significantly to the industry following plans to increase air connectivity to East Asian countries.
The emerging of new economic force of India and China is expected to push the region’s tourism sector into new heights.
“East Asian countries such as Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong and India have proven to yield strong numbers of tourists. The strong economy of China and India will produce new middle class citizens with financial muscle to spend. This included spending on overseas travels, which will enhance tourism of new emerging markets such as the state.
“Having our own airline and with our own promotion, MASwings will become a bridge for foreign visitors to both the states of Sabah and Sarawak,” Abang Johari, who is also Housing Minister, told a press conference at his residence at Petra Jaya near here yesterday.
Also present was Assistant Tourism Minister Datuk Talib Zulpilip.
He explained that tourism sectors in this region could provide fierce competition to European countries that will see an increase in travel cost due to its Carbon Emission Tax.
This will create a diversion where tourists worldwide will go to more interesting places with relatively lower costs than the European market.
Calling on all stakeholders to increase their efforts to give quality services to visitors, Abang Johari highlighted that the state should take advantage of this situation to develop its tourism sector.
“The state’s GDP growth in the service sector for 2011 is 35.5 per cent. Manufacturing was at 28 per cent, agriculture at 15.5 per cent and the rest mining.
Out of the 35.5 per cent in the services sector, 11 per cent is tourism.
“The increase in tourism will create employment. With the placement of various infrastructures, the service sector’s contribution to the state’s GDP will increase. The potential is good for tourism here considering that it is one of the important industries in the service sector.”
Abang Johari noted that the service sector is always the main contributor in the GDP of developed countries such as the United States, France, United Kingdom and Japan.