New Year Greetings from Sabah, Malaysian Borneo!
We open 2017 right away with tourism business. We are excited to announce the expansion of our air accessibility network through two airline partners this month. Malindo Air and Xiamen Airlines will commence their direct non-stop flights connecting Kota Kinabalu with Taipei and Fuzhou respectively this month. These new connections are just in time for the Lunar New Year, and the peak of another festive season for hotels all around Sabah. This makes to a total of seventeen international direct flights flying into Kota Kinabalu International Airport.
Up to October last year, we have over 2.621 million international and domestic tourists visiting Sabah, up +7.2% compared to the same period last year. A total of 207 charter flights with over 25,137 passengers arrived Kota Kinabalu from South Korea, China, Japan and Taiwan. The total charter flights has surpassed the 2015 total numbers by a whopping 134. The tourism industry is kept busy with hotels reportedly experiencing high occupancy especially the coming festive season.
For more information on our other events, do visit our website and social media.
The border between The Philippines and Malaysia (Sabah) is about 3 hours by boat from Semporna, east coast of Sabah, or almost 600km from Kota Kinabalu. Security by ESSCOM remain tight on island resorts. Curfew hours between 7pm to 5am up to three nautical miles offshore is put in place by ESSCOM. There has been no reports on incidents involving tourists on island resorts. There has been no cancellations and business on islands are operating as usual.
The Malaysian Government has designated the entire eastern portion of Sabah (extending from the town of Kudat in northern Sabah to Tawau district near the border of Indonesia) as the Eastern Sabah Security Zone, and established the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) to coordinate security forces' activity. There is a significant police and army presence in the area, and road checkpoints have increased. The Malaysian government also enhanced efforts to patrol its maritime border with the Philippines. Dusk to dawn curfew are strictly enforced on the sea to ensure the safety of tourists and divers. There are also fully-armed Malaysian security forces stationed on the islands with resorts.
ESSCOM is similar to the US Border Patrol, UK Border Force and the Australian Border Force, with similar mission to detect and prevent illegal aliens, terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering Sabah, Malaysia. These terrorism preventive measures are welcomed by all Malaysians and people of Sabah, to ensure safety and security for all Malaysians and visitors.
Wishing all of you a Prosperous and Joyous Chinese New Year!!