The grand opening of the ninth Hilton property in Malaysia - the 305-room Hilton Hotel Kota Kinabalu - is timely as Sabah continues to grow as a popular tourist destination.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said the State Government is confident the presence of this well-established hotel chain would complement economic growth, especially in the tourism sector in Sabah, and the city in particular.
He said the State Government welcomed the establishment of this reputable hotel that adds to Kota Kinabalu's landscape, which is a milestone for Hilton Hotels and Resorts, and a testimony of the confidence that investors have in Sabah.
"Let me assure Hilton Hotels and Resorts that you have made the right decision to invest in Kota Kinabalu. I also commend Pekah Hotels for rescuing this project, which was abandoned for a couple of years".
"This hotel has all the attributes for success with its strategic location in the city and latest facilities that create ease for both business and leisure travellers whereby its grand ballroom can accommodate 900 people which will also provide an alternative to those seeking space within the city to hold their events.
"To grow our economy, we do not only need infrastructure development, but also complementary services such as reputable hotels," he said, at its official opening on Saturday, March 18.
He hoped the hotel would contribute to the State's long-term goal to establish Sabah as the world's destination of choice in terms of nature diversity, rich cultures as well as business and investments.
"I wish to take this opportunity to call on hotels and resorts in Sabah to create their own niche and to offer something different to guests. Make use of feedback that guests send you to update your services and to cater to the needs of your target market.
"I also wish to see hotel and resort operators in Sabah raising the bar on standards so that your guests will return not only to Sabah but to your hotel or resort.
"Sabah is known for its biodiversity, clean environment and nature-based destinations, and thus, I am urging the resort and hotel operators to be mindful of the need to implement policies that support this," Musa said.
He said the government is committed to further developing the tourism sector along with private entities seeing as tourism will continue to feature as part of Sabah's economic development.
"Sabah has a variety of tourism products that cater to the needs of tourists, from nature destinations to rich cultural heritage, a diversity of food, and shopping options. There is always something for everyone who visits our State.
He said aggressive efforts to market Sabah by working with the right partners including the private sector are showing encouraging results that was hoped for.
With the Hilton Kinabalu now in operation, the city is served by no less than eight top class hotels and resorts within a five-kilometre radius that translates into several thousand high-end rooms.
This article was first publised in Daily Express.