Sabah’s Tourism Contributes RM13 Billion to State’s GDP in 2022

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Sabah’s tourism industry made a significant contribution to the state’s economy in 2022, with a gross value-added of tourism industries (GVATI) reaching RM13 billion. This accounted for 10.7% of Sabah’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to the Regional Tourism Satellite Account (RTSA) of Sabah published by the statistics department.

In addition, Sabah’s GVATI contributed 5.2% to Malaysia’s GVATI and 0.7% to the country’s GDP. The Tourism Direct Gross Domestic Product (TDGDP) recorded RM3.2 billion, contributing 2.6% to Sabah’s GDP.

Chief Statistician Uzir Mahidin attributed this positive performance to the reopening of the country’s borders, which had a significant impact on Sabah’s tourism sector. In 2022, Sabah saw 1.73 million tourist arrivals, marking a remarkable 365.5% increase compared to the 0.4 million recorded in 2021.


Uzir also praised the efforts of the Sabah state government in boosting the tourism industry, such as maintaining direct flight services to the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) from countries like Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and domestic flights from Terengganu.

Visitor spending in Sabah was primarily contributed by tourists from Peninsular Malaysia, accounting for 63.7% (RM1.7 billion) of the total spending in 2022. Overseas tourists and visitors from Sarawak contributed 23% (RM0.6 billion) and 12.3% (RM0.4 billion) respectively during the same period.

The involvement of 427,000 workers in Sabah’s tourism industry in 2022 contributed 22.8% to the total employment in the state. With ongoing government efforts to spur the tourism industry, including the Community-Based Tourism Roadshow, it is expected that tourist arrivals will continue to increase in 2023.

As of October 2023, Sabah had already recorded 2.11 million tourism arrivals, a 56.1% increase compared to the same period in 2022 (1.36 million).

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