Tourism promotion will continue despite crisis
Sabah will continue to promote domestic and regional tourism as the world faced fmancial turmoil, says Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun. . “As the world, especially the United States and European countries, are affected by the financial turmoil, we should encourage people to travel less distance but still able to contribute to the development of tourism industry. Therefore we encourage domestic and regional tourism,” he said. According to Masidi, there are many travel airlines affected by the financial , turmoil, including in the State and the. Ministry will try to promote domestic , and regional tourism to make up for the declining numbers of tourists. “There are a lot of cultural similarity between two regions such as Sabah and the Philippines and this is one of the reasons why we should promote . regional tourism,” he said to reporters during a courtesy call by the Governor of Cebu, Gwendolyn F.Garcia at @mosphere Restaurant, Menara Tun Mustapha here yesterday. He added that the State should improve the air connectivity between two regions such as Sabah and the Philippines and there should be more direct flights between these two countries. “The Ministry also tries to promote a new niche market such as Australia since the number of tourists from the region is quite high, so the State needs to increase its presence in the area to bring in more new tourists,” he said. Masidi said that despite the world financial turmoil, countries such as Australia are not greatly affected and this is the reason why the countries have potential to become the new market for the State’s tourism industry. He also said that up until August, long-haul flights are still on the positive side, mainly from the European market, Australia and Japan. Meanwhile, Gwendolyn said that Asean countries actually benefited from the financial turmoil and there should be more efforts done to promote domestic and regional tourism. “We actually benefited from the current situation and this is the time for us to take the advantages that we are in now whether in the economy or geographical side,” she said. She also hoped that her visit to Sabah will become a big step in forging stronger and better understanding which both Sabah and the Philippines can benefit both ways. “There is no competition between Sabah and Cebu but really a matter of complementing each other and that is something that we will discover,” she said. Also present during the ceremony were Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Datuk Suzamiah Liaw and Philippines delegates.