KOTA KINABALU: The otherwise smooth flow of tourists arriving in Sabah starting early this year was hampered by Covid-19 outbreak.

Records showed that Sabah has continued the momentum built from last year with 349,834 visitors arrived in January 2020, which is more than 2.76 per cent to 9,402 compared to 340,432 in the same month last year.

The encouraging arrivals were contributed by China with a total of 43,887 and South Korea (33,836) as several chartered flights were mounted weekly to Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA).

Reports from the hoteliers saw their bookings were full house during the first three months until early March, associate and in collaboration with SmithsGore Sabah, Christopher Chan commended based on the data obtained from Tourism Malaysia and Sabah Tourism Board.

The Oceania market for Australia and New Zealand also recorded an upward trend with 3,371 and 370 arrivals respectively compared to 2,324 and 136 the same month last year.

The UK and Ireland continues to be the largest market segment from Europe also saw an increase of 77.27 per cent to 2,434 in January 2020 compared to 1,373 in the same month last year.

“All these years, this market segment has remained as the top supporter of our tourism market and had not failed us.

“Our Historical ties has remained as the crucial linkage in bonding the people and culture including our educational link,” Chan said.

Germany, France, Italy and Netherland continue to show positive growth, he noted.

“The European market overall total arrivals for January 2020 were registered at 6,179 compared to 5,487 over the same month in 2019, an increase of 692 or 12.61 per cent,” he said.

The arrivals from USA and Canada has also increased with respectively at 2,181 and 885 against 1,843 and 783 same month last year, he said.

He concluded Northeast Asia still continues to lead the way in terms of arrivals to Sabah for January 2020 follow by Europe with Australia and North America closely behind.-HS

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