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Sabah is confident of meeting 2.7m visitors target

Sandakan: Barring any major crisis, Sabah is confident of achieving the target of 2.7 million visitors annually by the year 2007, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

Musa said the target was in line with the national’s goal set for the Eight Malaysia Plan, i.e. to draw 15 million tourists by 2005, since the tourism industry has become a leading revenue generator in the country.

He said tourism players in Sabah believed the target was within reach if there was no crisis like the SARS epidemic and impact of war and acts of terrorism.

He said the State recorded a steady growth of tourist arrivals over the past five years. This has been largely due to two factors - improved and increased air access in tandem with aggressive marketing strategies to position Sabah as a premier nature and adventure destination in the world for different market segments.

Musa, who is Finance Minister, said this when officiating at the Sabah Colour Guide: Sandakan History Culture, Wildlife and Resorts of the Sandakan Peninsula at Sandakan Hotel, here.

Recognising the importance of tourism as one of the major contributors to the State’s economy, the State Government had identified it as one of the three thrusts for the State’s economic development under the Halatuju, apart from agriculture and manufacturing.

In this regard, Musa said a vast array of tourism products would continue to be offered to cater for the diverse interest and demands of tourists.

Sabah, he said, has developed many world class tourism products and destinations based on its outstanding natural environmental assets such as in Sandakan, over a number of other regional destinations.

Sandakan being a capital of Sabah from 1883 to 1946 is undergoing renaissance and on Tuesday was officially proclaimed as the Nature City.

This, he said would firmly established it as the gateway to one of the greatest and most easily accessible concentrations of wildlife in all of Southeast Asia.

The launching of the Sandakan Colour Guide by Wendy Hutton and published by Natural History Publications was timely, he said, adding that it would help explain to visitors many other exciting places to visit in the district. The Guide is published in English and Chinese.

Source: Daily Express

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