Japanese tourist arrivals in Sabah recorded a surprising 32.3 per cent increase in the first three months of this year as compared to the same period last year.
This came despite an anticipated decline, following the tsunami and earthquake disasters in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Masidi Manjun said Japanese tourist arrivals went up from the previous 6,502 arrivals to 8,601.
In general, he said, short and medium haul tourist arrivals had shown positive growth in the first quarter results.
“Long haul markets like Europe, indicated a slight drop due to the increase in fuel price and most airlines surcharges that have somehow affected the long haul travellers.
“But surprisingly, the first quarter results for regional and domestic arrivals have shown very good results,” Masidi told reporters after closing the Traditional Food Festival today.
He said domestic arrivals had increased by 11.5 per cent from 400,622 to 447,188 arrivals. China and Hong Kong tourist arrivals meanwhile, have increased by 41.1per cent from 21,728 to 30,666, while South Korean tourist arrivals increased by41.9 per cent, to 17,697.
Masidi said the state government expected a big influx of tourists, especially next month, when a new Taiwanese airline, Mandarin Airlines, is scheduled to begin flying into Kota Kinabalu.