DUBAI: The Sabah Tourism Board, along with five local travel agents, are set to showcase Sabah as one of Malaysia’s hidden gems at the 2022 Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.

On Sunday (May 8), tourism key players will meet with potential buyers in a Business-to-Business (B2B) session to promote Sabah as a preferred destination in an effort to penetrate the Middle Eastern market.

Organized by the Solidarity Association For Travel and Tours Agency Malaysia (SAFTTA), the engagement will be launched by Tourism, Arts, and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.

Sabah Tourism Board Chief Executive Officer, Noredah Othman said the Middle East is Sabah’s emerging market, hence the B2B session is timely and necessary now that travel activities are returning to normal.

“Sabah can be an eye-opening destination for our Middle Eastern visitors, from its friendly people and rich culture to its breathtaking nature, wildlife, and cuisine. We have a wide variety of unique experiences for tourists to choose from.

“We, at Sabah Tourism Board, have consistently maintained our commitment and aggressiveness in promoting tourism activities and products to the foreign market, especially during the pandemic.

“We anticipate an influx of Middle Eastern tourists to Malaysia and to the state. We hope that this will boost our tourism industry even more. All stakeholders must work together to achieve this,” she said.

The five local travel agents participating in the SAFTTA B2B session are Fun Holiday Tours and Travel, Borneo Wakid Adventures, i-world Travel and Tours, Exotic Asian Explorer (Borneo), and AiTravel.

According to Fun Holiday Tours and Travel managing director Connie Chong, Middle Eastern travelers visiting Malaysia are not necessarily looking to shop so much. Many of them are drawn by the country’s climate, culture, and food, she added.

“The SAFTTA B2B aims to promote Malaysia tourism products and provide more destination information to all trade partners and tourism industry players. As agents, we need to be aggressive in promoting our state’s uniqueness to them such as the Danum Valley, Kundasang highland, islands, the local cultures, and many more.

“Flight connectivity is not a major problem for Sabah. So, we will continue to play our role in promoting Sabah as a new travel destination,” said Connie, who helped organize the engagement session.

Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Brunei are currently the easiest gateways to Sabah from Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The Kuala Lumpur – Kota Kinabalu and Singapore – Kota Kinabalu routes are well connected by air, with several airlines now operating between the cities.

The Arabian Travel Market is among the leading platforms for the tourism and travel industries, allowing professionals to showcase their brand and discover new market prospects.

ENDS.