Investors from China, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur are looking for opportunities to expand investments in the tourism sector in Semporna.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Jaujan Sambakong said seven investors categorised as billionaires were now in Semporna and were looking at the potential of developing the tourism sector in Semporna.
"They met Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal and offered to develop Semporna. They have also met me and among others have stated that problems like garbage need to be addressed immediately towards plans to make Semporna a world-class tourist destination" he said.
Jaujan, who is also Housing and Local Government Minister and Sulabayan assemblyman, said this when met by reporters at the Bukit Lalang District Voting Centre Aidil Fitri Open House.
According to Jaujan, Semporna was akin to a valuable pearl that needed to be utilised and the local community had a role in safeguarding its beauty besides highlighting the cultural uniqueness, especially of the Bajau community.
Meanwhile, he also hoped Silam Member of Parliament from Party Warisan Sabah, Mohammadin Ketapi, who was appointed as Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, could lift the Sabah tourism sector, especially Semporna to the global level.
"A seven-star tourism industry is not only valued from the aspect of natural beauty but needs to get support in terms of tourism infrastructure and this requires the strong partnership between the federal and state governments" he said.
In the meantime, according to Jaujan, the tourism ministry could reach a consensus to increase direct flights from abroad such as China, South Korea and Japan to Sabah, especially in Tawau.
"There are complaints from international travellers arriving in Semporna following limited flights and being forced to board more than two flights before arriving in Semporna.
"They want direct flights to the east coast of Sabah because they love the marine resources attractions in Semporna" he said, adding that, currently, 60,000 foreign and domestic tourists were recorded to have visited Semporna every month.