Sarawak registered more foreign and local tourist arrivals than Sabah last year. Sarawak Immigration Department indicated there were more than 7.2 million travellers visited the state, while Sabah Tourism Board indicated that the province attracted less than three million visitors in 2015.
Incidents of kidnapping and intrusion into Sabah’s East Coast had an adverse effect on the tourism industry.Statistics show 1.9 million Bruneians visited Sarawak compared to only 79,140 in Sabah. Sarawak also beats Sabah for the total number of Indonesian and Filipino tourists.
There were 500,000 Indonesian tourists to Sarawak compared to only 185,000 to Sabah and 130,000 Filipino tourists to Sarawak compared to only 45,000 to Sabah.
As for China tourists, Sabah beats Sarawak 228,910 to 40,000 due to closer air links and more flights because even Sarawakians need to transit in Sabah for cheaper flights to China.
However, South Koreans chose Sabah over Sarawak last year. Sabah had 121,170 South Korean tourists while Sarawak received 50,000 Singaporean tourists in 2015.
Brunei tourists benefit both Sarawak and Sabah. However Sarawak receives more visitors from Brunei as Miri- near to the border- acts as a shopping and entertainment magnet for Bruneians.Sabah suffered by contrary of more complicated entry formalities. .
The occupancy rate for selected 3 to 5 star hotels located within Kota Kinabalu’s Central Business District and city fringe areas such as Karamunsing and Sembulan, averaged at 60 per cent for 2015, a slight decline compared to about 65 per cent for 2014. This performance was influenced by the opening of new hotels such as the 4-star Avangio Hotel at Metro Town in Kolombong with 103 guestrooms. Another 4-star hotel “Soluxe Hotel” had its soft opening in April 2015 while a 3-star hotel with 117 hotels opened in August.
(Source: Daily Express, Sabah)