Kota Kinabalu, The Focus of Sabah Tourism


Sabah’s economic development was mainly contributed by its tourism sector. Despite the Covid-19 outbreak, Sabah was among the favourable states for domestic travel in 2020 with over 10 million visitors, based on the data by Department of Statistic Malaysia (DOSM).



Among the district in Sabah, Kota Kinabalu has been the people’s favourite as it provides a wide range of activities from mountain high to ocean deep with varying landscapes to attract local and international travellers.



Based on a popular accommodation booking website, Kota Kinabalu has the highest number of listings. Hence, this proves that accommodation in Sabah is highly focused in its state capital.





With Kota Kinabalu dominated the accommodation listings in Sabah, the district was found to have the highest average price compared to other districts. This might be due major hoteliers and luxury resorts are located in Kota Kinabalu.



Meanwhile, Semporna was found to also gain a notable amount of ratings after Kota Kinabalu, indicating that it is the leading alternative from Kota Kinabalu.





Based on the listing comparison in each district, the colossal private accommodation listings are mainly contributed by Kota Kinabalu. Nonetheless, other areas such as Semporna, Sandakan, Tawau and Lahad Datu are mostly dominated by hotels.



Therefore, this indicates that private listings are more prevalent in Kota Kinabalu while rural areas still have more hotel listings.





Meanwhile The wordcloud below shows that the most visited place in Sabah is Manukan Island, Mataking Island and Bohey Dulang Island.



This further strengthens the notion that Kota Kinabalu, Semporna and Sandakan are the most popular districts to visit in Sabah as most listings are close by to these tourist attractions located in the three districts.





Being labelled as the New Zealand of Malaysia, the tourism sector in Sabah is expected to experience a significant recovery, especially when the country’s border has been lifted as the country is going into the endemic phase.