GMA News Online
Sabah Conflict

Malaysia spending P6.6M to bring tourists back to Sabah

April 1, 2013 4:59am
After a month of clashes with followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, Malaysia is spending RM500,000 (P6.599 million) on a public relations blitz to entice tourists to return to Sabah.

The blitz involves having foreign travel writers and bloggers tour Sabah, according to a Bernama report posted on The Star Online.

Malaysian Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said in the report as that the writers are from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Macau and Hong Kong.

"We want them to know that the security of Sabah's east coast has been tightened with the setting up of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) to keep watch on a coastline of 1,400 km from Kudat to Tawau," she said.

She said the travel writers will tour Sabah under the Mega Familiarization program organized by Tourism Malaysia.

Under the program, the foreign media delegation is to visit dive spots such as Pulau Layang-Layang and Sipadan.

The report said the tour aims to allay fears of foreign travelers about the security situation in Sabah.

Ng explained that the hotel occupancy rate in Sabah, particularly in Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Tawau, had dropped by 35 percent.

"We need to offset the trend by restoring tourism confidence by giving travel writers the true picture of the situation," she added.

Also, she said the mega familiarization program was a follow-up to the task force set up by the ministry to revive tourism in Sabah.

She said a massive campaign would also be carried out to promote domestic tourism. — DVM, GMA News
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