Sabah Tourism is eager to participate in the Indian outbound market and is hoping that the Tourism Malaysia e-learning programme would help spread knowledge about Malaysia among Indian travel industry professionals. The Sabah Tourism Board discussed their top destinations and outreach in India with TravelBiz Monitor.
Q. According to 2019 data, Taiwan, China, Brunei, Singapore, and South Korea were Sabah’s main feeder markets. How do you propose to include India in the list? Do you believe that the current e-learning programme will aid you in achieving your goals?
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of Indian visitors to Sabah grew, with 5,606 in 2018 and 6,548 in 2019.
1077 Indians arrived in Sabah in 2020, and 332 more did so the next year. The number of Indian arrivals in Sabah rose to 3987 in 2022. The encouraging rise is a reliable sign of travellers’ interest in visiting this area.
Following the Sabah Tourism Board’s recent participation in the Tourism Malaysia and Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) roadshow to India in January to February of this year across Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, and New Delhi, Indian tour agents that were encountered, who had previously sent clients to other Malaysian states on numerous occasions, are now introducing Sabah as a new vacation spot and hidden jewel of Malaysia to the Indian market.
With the current Online Training Program, valuable information can be provided to the B2B segment, such as the attractions, culture, activities, and experiences that Sabah can offer to the Indian market. It can emphasise distinctive experiences, highlight the beauty of the location, and inform potential visitors/agents about what Sabah has to offer.
A. Describe the natural wonders of Mount Kinabalu, the Maliau Basin, and the Borneo Tip.
Amazing natural beauties including Mount Kinabalu, Maliau Basin, and the Tip of Borneo are all located in Sabah, North Borneo, and each one offers different tourist experiences.
These are their differences:
1. Mount Kinabalu: At 4,095 metres high, Mount Kinabalu is one of Southeast Asia’s tallest mountains and a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The ascent of this magnificent mountain rewards climbers with breathtaking vistas, a variety of habitats, and a sense of accomplishment. It’s a challenging but rewarding experience, allowing visitors to witness the sunrise from the summit and observe various flora and fauna at higher altitudes. It is also where the world’s highest Via Ferrata is located.
2. Maliau Basin: Known as the “Lost World of Sabah,” Maliau Basin is a pristine rainforest wilderness. It provides a richer, more comprehensive experience of nature. Visitors can take guided hikes, explore its extensive trail network, and encounter rare wildlife species. Maliau Basin allows for a quieter and more secluded adventure surrounded by natural wonders. The terrain is tough and generally requires visitors to embark on a hiking and camping excursion for a minimum of 4 days in its primary forest.
3. Tip of Borneo: Situated in the northernmost part of Sabah, the Tip of Borneo offers a unique coastal experience with a blend of natural beauty and cultural diversity. Visitors can relax on white sandy beaches, marvel at stunning sunsets, and explore nearby villages such as the Honey Bee Farm, Gong-Making Village, and the Rungus Longhouse. The area is also home to ethnic communities with rich traditions, making it an opportunity to learn more about local cultures.
Q. Which are some of the traveller segments that Sabah Tourism Board (STB) is targeting in India?
Sabah Tourism Board is looking to tap into the Indian tourism market, particularly for destination weddings, and MICE groups, as Indian tourists love Sabah’s beaches, islands, resorts, diving, wildlife, and cultures. Sabah has hosted approximately 9 Indian weddings in Kota Kinabalu within a span of 3 years pre-pandemic. We also received a Golf group from India in May after a successful meeting between golf operators at SATTE 2023 in India during February.
Q. What are the recent steps have you taken on the sustainable tourism front?
Sabah has always been involved in conservation and working with the communities on rural tourism – For information, Sabah will play host to the inaugural ADEX Ocean Partnership Summit, from August 18-20 at the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC). The summit will feature global experts and trailblazers to discuss and explore diving disciplines, ocean conservation, and sustainability issues while offering a platform to connect and network not just with Tourism industry players, but also with the conservation and education segment.
Q. The Indian market offers huge potential to every tourism board, keeping this in mind, does STB have any specific strategy for this market?
Sabah Tourism Board will continue to work closely with Tourism Malaysia, tour agents and airlines to expand indirect passenger traffic to Sabah. Currently, Indian tourists can travel to Sabah via Singapore, with 21 flights weekly to Kota Kinabalu, and via Kuala Lumpur, 164 weekly connecting flights to Kota Kinabalu.
Source- Travel biz