Monday, January 14, 2008


KK needs more entertainment outlets: Masidi


There is a need for more entertainment outlets in the city to cater for the niche markets, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun. He said such developments would be in line with the State’s direction in developing a tourism industry centered on high-yield and quality tourists.
“We need outlets for the niche market here which includes the well- heeled, especially foreign tourists and also families,” he said at a press conference after the official opening of the KK Box karaoke outlet at Karamunsing Complex here yesterday.
Masidi said that entertainment outlets such as the RM3. 8 million KK Box are necessary to generate more interest among high-quality tourists, particularly from richer Asian countries, to visit Sabah. He said in 2007, the State attracted about 750,000 high-yield tourists or 30 percent of the 2.3 million tourist arrivals.
Masidi noted that among the target tourists include those from cities in South China, Korea, Japan and neighbouring Brunei Darussalam, besides domestic tourists from Peninsular Malaysia. He added that his ministry and the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) would also launch aggressive tourism promotions to other high-yield tourist markets, including Australia and possibly Russia. “I have already had preliminary talks with the chief executive officer of Aseana Airlines to work out a route where Russians can visit here as a destination via a transit between the western region of Russia through Korea and Sabah.
“We are marketing the State as one of the value for money stopover destinations in the region. “I must emphasize on the need to bring in quality tourists because the spillover from the tourism industry depends on the sort of tourists visiting Sabah.
“The Japanese for example are noted for having deep pockets, and I believe they find in Kota Kinabalu that they can spend money without feeling insecure because it is very safe to visit here. “We have possibly the best multiracial population in the world and this only adds value to the natural beauty that we have in Sabah. Currently tourists spend between five and eight days here on average, but we hope to extend that to 10 days,” he said.
On the shortage of hotel rooms in Sabah, Masidi said it is a perennial problem that the State Government is happy to have. “We have been experiencing double digit growth (in tourist arrivals) over the past few years and just for the first 10 months of last year, our growth was at 26.6 percent. “This brings about a situation where we can never have 100 percent availability of rooms, but we want to keep it that way because we need to maintain occupancy of at least 70 percent throughout the year.
“The whole idea is to have everyone benefit from the industry,” he said, while noting that the State Government is encouraging the development of resort-type hotels to keep in line with the development of the State’s tourism industry.