Chinese tourists have contributed an estimated RM2 billion in tourism receipts to Sabah last year, said the Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu, Liang Caide.
He said around 430,000 Chinese tourists had visited Sabah in 2017, with up to 90 direct flights connecting Kota Kinabalu and China each week.
"If each Chinese tourist spends an estimated RM5,000 during their stay here, they would have contributed over RM2 billion in tourism receipts last year."
Liang said this during a courtesy call on the Sabah United Chinese Chambers of Commerce (SUCCC) led by Tan Sri Andrew Liew Sui Fatt here yesterday.
He said tourism, a smokeless industry, was an important industry to drive the economy.
"Tourism can drive the development of 30 other sectors, including hotel, retail, entertainment, food and beverage, telecommunications and transportation."
He also spoke on the severe shortage of hotel rooms, particularly in the east coast of Sabah during peak periods.
Liang added that old, worn-out tourism facilities were in need of improvement.