KOTA KINABALU, 24 March 2023: South Korean visitors to Sabah are rising, as the count hits 21,541 arrivals during January 2023.

It represents a significant increase as the total is nearly half of the 55,152 South Korean tourist arrivals recorded in 2022.

“The Korean market is significant to us as it was the first country the Sabah Tourism Board team visited when the border reopened in April of last year to engage with airlines and travel agents there,” said Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.

“The surge in Korean tourists is largely thanks to the increase in scheduled direct flights to Sabah, and of course, this would not have been possible without a close engagement,” he said, adding Kota Kinabalu is also well connected via Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, China, Taipei, and Brunei.

Joniston, who is also the assistant minister of tourism, culture, and environment, made the comments during an interview with the media team of the Korean-based Coceuco company, which had organised an incentive trip to Sabah for 450 top achievers.

Coceuco manufactures and sells multi-functional skin care products under the brand Repove.

Regarding scheduled flights, Joniston stated that there are currently 30 weekly direct flights from Korea to Sabah, with Kota Kinabalu connecting via Incheon and Busan.

This contrasts with the previous year when there were only 16 weekly flights between Kota Kinabalu and Incheon.

Joniston added Sabah’s islands, beaches, and golf courses are popular among Korean tourists.

Before the pandemic, Sabah registered 396,700 tourists from South Korea in 2019 and 337,100 in 2018, representing the second-largest international arrivals after China.

For more information visit www.sabahtourism.com.

(Your Stories Sabah Tourism Board)