Tourism momentum continues as arrivals up to March saw a growth of +5.7% compared to the same time in 2017, with notable increase from market sources such as China, South Korea, Singapore, as well as USA. We are happy to report that in the first three months of this year, Sabah has received a whopping 126 charter flights from China and Japan, compared to just 45 charter flights in the same period of 2017. Incentive groups from China continue to come in. There are now 91 flights from China connecting KKIA. We have also received close to 10,000 cruise passengers to Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan.
It will be a busy weekend in Kota Kinabalu, as the performance of 'Solungkoi Jambatan Tamparuli' (a play), also the theme for this year's Sabah Fest, will happen on 4-6 May. On 6 May, 10,000 runners from all over the region will flood the streets of the city for the 11th UNICEF Borneo Marathon. Best wishes to all the runners!
In a few weeks' time, the holy month of Ramadhan will follow, where Moslems will observe the fast from dawn till dusk. If you're in Sabah, or heading to here soon, let us know by tagging #sabahtourism on social media.
East Coast Security Updates
The Malaysian Government has designated the entire eastern portion of Sabah (extending from the town of Kudat in northern Sabah to Tawau district near the border of Indonesia) as the Eastern Sabah Security Zone, and established the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) to coordinate security forces' activity. Security forces are stationed on the islands with resorts. Curfew hours between 6pm to 6am up to five nautical miles offshore is put in place by ESSCOM. Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia have formed a trilateral committee on this.