Kopi'vosian, Season’s Greetings and Merry Christmas from Sabah!
Sabah made good progress in tourism business, the first-10 months of 2013, with a double-digit growth of 21% from about 2.332 million to 2.719million, compared to the same period in 2012. International arrivals increased by 15.4% to 905,742 and Domestic arrivals increased by 17.1% to 1.813million. There were increased direct flights from regional capitals and cities into Kota Kinabalu, including record arrivals of charter flights from north Asia, China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan. In October, Malaysia Airlines launched its Kota Kinabalu-Narita/Tokyo 3x-weekly direct flights and added a second-direct flight direct to and from Perth, Australia. Last month, in November, AirAsia launched its direct domestic 3x-weekly flights connecting Kota Kinabalu to Kota Bahru (Kelantan) in North-Eastern Peninsula Malaysia, with full capacity for the next few months. On December 19 AirAsia launched Kota Kinabalu-Cebu flights in the Philippines direct flight 3x weekly.
Global corporate brands from Europe and the Asia Pacific region including medical meetings and conferences, Banks and Financial institutions, a Bishops Conference and many more held their meetings and corporate incentives Events in Kota Kinabalu. These corporate incentive Groups travel to Sandakan and the east coast to visit the Turtle Islands, the world renowned Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Sanctuary and river-safaris to Sukau for the must-see Borneo’s wildlife habitats, home of the kara rungui or proboscis monkeys, its cousins the orang utans, the pygmy elephants, smallest in the world and many more. This is the favourite filming destinations of world famous BBC naturalist Sir David Attenborough, the National Geography and Discovery Channel.
Sabah is the Land Below the Wind, situated below the typhoon beltthat affect the Philippines in the north. Diving is year-round in Sabah.
The Malaysian Government has strengthened and further enhanced the armed security forces on the islands destinations and coastal Sabah. Subsequent to the February Sulu intrusions at the remote coastal village of Kg Tanduo, the Government established the Esszone under the Esscom (Eastern Sabah Security Command) along the entire east coast of Sabah from Kudat in the far north to Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Semporna and Tawau in the southeast. The Esszone is similar to the USA Homeland Security on the USA-Mexico border and the Australian Government's own ADF against infiltrations/illegal arrivals and smuggling. The Malaysian "Ops Daulat" military offensive had successfully mopped up the intruder-terrorists. Security posts were strategically established in islands and coastal areas. On Friday 15 November, Taiwanese tourist Hsu Li-min was shot and killed at Pom Pom Island Resort. His wife Evelyn Chang An-wei was abducted and taken hostage to the southern Philippines island of Jolo. On Friday 20 December, Ms Chang was released and rescued by the Philippines joint task force in Jolo and she safely returned to Taiwan on Saturday 21 December. We are most thankful for the assistance and cooperation of the Philippines Government and to all parties for the safe return of Ms Chang. We pray for her full recovery and extend our deepest condolence for the death of her husband Hsu Li-min.
All resorts operators in the Esszone area are working closely with Esscom (including resorts at Pom Pom Island) to further strengthen, enhance and adhere to security measures. Esscom has increased security forces in all islands with resorts and guests are assured of their security and safety.
Sabah is set to usher in the New Year and Visit Malaysia Year 2014.
We look forward to welcoming you in Sabah.