KOTA KINABALU: Tourism industry players in Sabah have been advised to embrace digital technology to boost their business and further develop the industry in the state.
Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun said this when launching the first Digital Tourism Workshop organized by the ministry through the Sabah Tourism Board.
“Just because 3.684 million tourists came to the state last year, does not mean they will come again this year. We have increasing arrivals every year, but do not take for granted.
“The world is so open today, everything is available on our smartphones. When people are planning for their vacation, they are looking for experience. That is why they prefer to make their own arrangement according to the information they found from the internet,” he said.
Masidi further elaborated that hotels and tour agents needed to look at digital technology development as the new potential in marketing their products.
“Report shows that more than half of our tourists from China came to the state on their own. They did not book their holiday through tour agents.
“Almost 60 per cent of them came on their own, and we can see that the number keeps increasing. The culture of traveling is evolving. It is not about visiting or sight seeing anymore, it is about living there,” he added.
During the two-day event, a number of speakers will be sharing their knowledge on how to move in tandem in terms of digital marketing and build a stronger branding for Sabah.
Among the speakers during the workshop include E-Tourism Frontiers founder and chief executive officer Damien Cook, who has made presentations in international forums including the World Information Summit in Tunis, the Global Experts Panel on E-Tourism, ITB (Internationale Tourismus-Börse) in Berlin as well as PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Tourism Forums.
E-Tourism Frontiers has worked with South African Tourism, Indonesia Tourism Ministry, Athens and Rhodes Tourism (Greece) to name a few, and has partnered with TripAdvisor, Facebook, YouTube, Expedia and Google.
“We are hoping this workshop will make our players wake up from our slumber, work together and not just complain. The world is changing, and we can’t stop technology from evolving. We need to evolve too,” he said.