South Korean visitors to Sabah on the rise

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Tourism Board (STB) has reported a significant increase in South Korean tourist arrivals in the first month of 2023.

With 21,541 visitors recorded, this marks a significant increase compared to the 55,152 South Korean tourists who visited Sabah throughout the entire year of 2022.

Sabah’s Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister and STB chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai attributed this growth to the increase in scheduled direct flights into Sabah.

He described the Korean market as being crucial to Sabah’s tourism efforts, adding that Sabah is well-connected with other countries such as Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, China, Taipei, and Brunei.

Currently, there are 30 weekly direct flights from Korea into Sabah, with Kota Kinabalu connecting via Incheon and Busan.

This is a significant increase from 2022, when there were only 16 weekly flights between Kota Kinabalu and Incheon.

In an interview with the media team of the Korean-based Coceuco company, Joniston noted that Sabah’s islands, beaches, and golf courses are popular among Korean tourists.

Coceuco recently organized an incentive trip to Sabah for 450 top achievers, manufacturing and selling multi-functional skincare products under the brand Repove.

Prior to the pandemic, Sabah registered 396,700 tourists from South Korea in 2019 and 337,100 in 2018, making them the second-largest international arrival after China.

With the increase in direct flights and Sabah’s natural beauty and tourist attractions, the STB is optimistic about continued growth in South Korean tourist arrivals.

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