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Saturday, July 16, 2016

360,000 China tourists likely to visit Sabah this year

KOTA KINABALU - Tourist arrivals from China are likely to reach 360,000 by the end of this year, said state Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister Pang Yuk Ming.

Pang said the state recorded around 50% growth in Chinese arrivals from January to May this year compared to the same period last year.

“Based on the look of things, we expect the number of Chinese tourists to Sabah to hit the 2013 figure which is 360,000 or beyond, this year. Last year we received around 250,000 visitors from China,” he told reporters on Friday.

“With the recent new flights from Kunming via China’s Lucky Air and current three weekly flights from Tianjin, Sabah Tourism Board will continue to attract more direct flights from various cities in China. The opening of several new hotels this year means an extra 1,000 new rooms for tourists,” he said.

Pang said this after opening the ‘One Belt One Route’ art exhibition themed “Impressions of Sabah’ at the Sabah Art Gallery organised by the Sabah Institute of Art and Sabah Maritime Silk Road Research Society.

The one-week expo displays around 70 pieces of artwork and photography by 10 art scholars from China and one from South Korea aged from 25 to 75 following a 10-day expedition to locations including Semporna, Tawau, Mabul and Gaya islands and Kota Kinabalu.

The artworks depict landscapes and sceneries, daily life and culture from the artists’ perspectives using techniques ranging from oil paintings and acrylic to Chinese ink and water colours.

Meanwhile, Pang said art was a great tool to promote Sabah and its various destinations to foreign tourists.

“An event like today’s is an effective tool by the government to promote Sabah in China where Chinese artists have captured the state’s beauty and warmth and openness of the people through their work.

“When the artists exhibit their work back in China, I believe this will attract more people who appreciate nature and culture to want to come to Sabah,” he told reporters.

The 11 artists also received certificates of participation from Pang at the event attended by vice consul-general representative of China consulate general in KK, Liu Ya Nan, former state chief minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee and SIA president Prof Dr Wilson Yong.

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