Sabah Urged to Target High-Spending Tourists, Advises Bersatu Leader

Sabah Urged to Target High-Spending Tourists, Advises Bersatu Leader

Rahimah Majid, the chief of Sabah Wanita Bersatu, has called upon the state to reassess its tourism strategies with the aim of attracting affluent tourists. According to Majid, Sabah should not be satisfied solely with the current influx of budget travelers, as relying on this demographic may not be advantageous in the long term.

Instead, she advocates for efforts to entice high-value tourists who are willing to invest in experiencing Sabah’s natural beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality. Majid emphasized the importance of conducting brainstorming sessions involving key stakeholders in the tourism industry to address existing shortcomings and challenges.

Among the issues highlighted by Majid are poor hygiene standards among local operators, inadequate facilities at tourist sites, power outages at Kota Kinabalu International Airport, subpar road conditions leading to Mount Kinabalu, and insufficient safety measures. She also noted recent instances of fatalities involving tourists, underscoring the need for improvement in safety standards.
Drawing examples from other countries such as Bhutan, New Zealand, and Thailand, which have shifted their focus to attracting high-quality tourists post-Covid-19, Majid emphasized the importance of upgrading existing infrastructure and amenities at tourist destinations to appeal to affluent travelers. She highlighted initiatives like the Cayman Islands Global Citizen Concierge Programme and Fiji’s positioning as a retreat for billionaires as successful models to emulate.

Furthermore, Majid mentioned Thailand’s introduction of a 10-year work visa targeting high-earning digital nomads, illustrating efforts by these countries to address issues of overtourism while prioritizing environmental conservation.

Meanwhile, Sabah is considering relaxing its Malaysia MySecond Home Programme (MM2H) to stimulate its property market. Under the proposed Sabah MM2H, the state may reduce the fixed deposit requirement to RM200,000 and lower the property purchase eligibility to RM600,000, compared to the initial requirements of RM1.5 million and RM1 million respectively.

The Vibes, April 7, 2024

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