KUALA LUMPUR, (June 17 ) — The repeated kidnapping incidents in Sabah have given negative impact to Malaysia’s tourism sector, especially in the number of tourist arrivals from China.
In fact, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said the impact given by the incidents was worse than the case of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
As at April, 76 flights from China to Kota Kinabalu were cancelled, 10 of which were MAS flights from Shanghai, 22 were China Southern Airlines flights from Shenzen and 44 were Spring Airlines flight from Shanghai, he said in reply to Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak) at the Dewan Rakyat sitting here Tuesday.
“I agree with Yang Berhormat’s opinion that the kidnapping incidents in Sabah had given a far worst impact to the country’s tourism sector compared to the effects of the MH370 tragedy.
“From April this year to 2015, the number of tourist arrivals to Malaysia is expected to decline… and 30,000 potential tourists from China are expected to cancel or postpone their visits to Malaysia,” Mohamed Nazri said.
As such, Mohamed Nazri said all quarters, including Sabah government and the Home Ministry, should work closely to restore public confidence, especially among foreign tourists, that Sabah is a safe place to visit.
Yesterday, a fish breeder and his worker were abducted by two armed men in Kampung Sapang, west of Pulau Timbun Mata, Semporna, marking the third kidnapping incident in the east coast of Sabah this year.
On May 6, five armed men abducted a 34-year-old Chinese manager of a fish breeding company in Pulau Batik in Lahad Datu, just a month after a Chinese national and a Filipino resort worker were abducted from the Singamata Reef Resort off Semporna.
In a bid to balance the decline in the number of tourist arrivals from China, Mohamed Nazri said the ministry had underlined short-term strategy through Tourism Malaysia by increasing promotional campaign in medium-haul markets.
“The ministry has also increased its campaign in other countries, including Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, Philippine, India, Bangladesh, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Australia and New Zealand,” he said.
Apart from that, a crisis management committee had also been set up by Tourism Malaysia to tackle China’s tourism market and to interact actively with the tourism players in China to restore their confidence to visit Malaysia, he added.– BERNAMA