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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Fewer visitors to Sabah, S’wak due to GST etc

KOTA KINABALU - The leisure travel market in Borneo continues to remain lacklustre despite the Tourism Ministry promoting more packages to Sabah and Sarawak.

“Travellers are tightening their belts due to increasing prices of goods and services,” said Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Satta) President Winston Liaw.

“The prices keep rising,” the Borneo Post quoted him as saying on the sidelines of a lucky draw during the Sabah International Travel Fair 2016 recently.

He attributed the market situation to the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), a consumption tax. “It discourages spending,” he said. “The people are spending on essential items and cutting back on leisure and travel.”

He estimates that the travel industry is made up of an equal number of business and leisure travellers. “The sentiment in the leisure market is not good,” Liaw.

He sees the need for participation in more travel fairs to help improve market sentiment.

Silk Air Sabah Manager Esther Ho, who was also present, disclosed the airline was holding promotional sales till November 20. This is for the travel period ending May 31 next year.

Meanwhile, State Deputy Minister for Tourism Lee Kim Shin told the media in Kuching separately that the Singapore Tourism Board might include a weekend getaway package to Sarawak through Singapore Airlines.

“SIA flies long-haul,” he pointed out. “They have a lot of travellers from Europe and other destinations.”

He has also proposed that Silk Air fly to more destinations in Sarawak.

He expressed the hope that Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Malindo Air would also help promote more packages to Sabah and Sarawak.

He sees culture, adventure and nature as the niche market segment in Borneo. “We need to upgrade facilities and services at the national parks,” said Lee. “The facilities must be well-maintained,” the Borneo Post quoted him as saying. - FMT

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