June 2, 2023


Just Do Travel

Foreign tourist arrivals to pick up in May, says Sabah tour and travel association

KOTA KINABALU: International tourist arrivals in Sabah are likely to take a slower pace in April with the re-opening of the international borders, Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Satta) president Datuk Seri Winston Liaw said.

He said that for April, there were no direct international flights to Kota Kinabalu from major countries while China had yet to fully re-open its borders.

“We don’t have any international flights arriving in April, it will only start from May,” he said when contacted Friday (April 1).

“We hope starting from May onwards, South Koreans and maybe some Australians too, will be coming to Sabah via Scoot Ai, which is expected to resume services from April 29 onwards.

“The recovery will be slow, but it is better than nothing,” he added.

He said Chinese tourists who made up over 40% of international tourist arrivals in Sabah could only be expected in 2023. China continues to maintain strict travel protocols.

For now, he said most bookings were from Malaysians but expect more Singaporeans coming in by May.

“We expect mainly South Koreans as well as Singaporeans who do not need to take any tests.

“We don’t expect many Western tourists but we should get some,” he said.

Most Sabah tourism players had prepared for the reopening of the international borders on Friday (April 1) after Malaysia’s borders were closed for nearly two years due to the pandemic.