Sabah’s tourism industry achieved an all-time high in 2018 with 3.879 million visitor arrivals and RM8.342 billion in tourism receipts, reflecting year-on-year growth of 5.3% and 6.6% respectively. Out of the total visitor arrivals, domestic visitors made up 65% of the total with the remaining 35% comprising international visitors. Amongst the international visitors, China was the top market source at 44%, followed by South Korea at 25%.
In conjunction with the positive growth seen across the Sabah Tourism industry, the hospitality industry in Sabah has also witnessed some fascinating growth and breakthrough as of the first half of 2019. A Hyatt affiliate has entered into a management agreement with a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hap Seng Group of Companies to develop a Hyatt Centric hotel in Kota Kinabalu. Expected to open in 2021, Hyatt Centric Kota Kinabalu will be the first Hyatt Centric hotel in Malaysia. World-renowned Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma, has been commissioned as the architect and interior designer for the hotel.
Situated in the heart of the city centre, the 23-storey hotel incorporating one level of the basement will feature 226 guestrooms, an all-day lounge and restaurant, spacious meeting space, rooftop swimming pool and fitness centre. Sunduvon Corporation Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary company of KTS Group, is poised to develop a large-scale integrated tourism development on a 132-hectare reclaimed island.
Debut as KK Resort City, the mega project will be developed in multiple phases with an estimated cost of RM5 billion, offering a range of accommodation, including five star hotel, three- and four-star boutique hotels, water villa resorts, luxury villas, condominiums, town-houses, convention centre and function rooms, waterfront infrastructure and facilities.
Kota Kinabalu will have a second hotel by Hilton under the DoubleTree by Hilton brand. Scheduled for opening at the end of 2022, the hotel featuring 237 guestrooms forms part of an integrated mixed development.
AVANI Hotels and Resorts has entered into an agreement with KTI Property Sdn Bhd to expand its brand presence in Kota Kinabalu. Scheduled to launch in the fourth quarter of 2021, the hotel will form part of a mixed-use development located along Jalan Lintas, featuring 378 rooms, all-day dining restaurant, rooftop bar and pool and meeting space.
Sabandar Cowboy Town, a popular recreational facility situated in Tuaran, has announced its second phase. The beach resort currently serves as a local getaway with 16 lodging rooms, restaurant, bar and grill, Mangrove Park, and various recreational facilities including horse riding, batik printing and river cruises. The second phase will comprise 37 cowboy themed retail shops, 160 hotel rooms, recreational clubhouse, children’s pool as well as a vintage car museum.
The first pop up beach resort in Sabah has opened its door along the Rampayan Beach at Kota Belud, known as Cabana Retreat. Cabana Retreat offers about 24 rooms in “tent” format with multiple sizes and designs.