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Marketing Strategies of Sabah’s Tourism Board

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Chapter 1: Introduction
Background information:
Malaysia is a developing country filled with hardworking, life-enjoying, food minded and simple people. Even after having said that, Malaysia is still retains its traditional mind set but is surely and slowly breaking out of this mind set and style. Moving on, Malaysia consists of two main lands which are the Western and Eastern parts. The Western part is commonly known as the Peninsular consists of Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Pulau Pinang, Selangor, Terengganu, Wilayah Persekutuan. While the Eastern part, known as Borneo, consists of only Sabah and Sarawak. Founded right in the middle of monsoon disposed provinces in the south of the Philippines, Sabah, or advertised as the “Land Below the Wind”, is the second biggest state following behind Sarawak (Sabah 1992). Although named the “Land Below the Wind”, Sabah is seldom hit by any typhoons but is prone to longer seasons of the monsoon. Sabah is located at the northern part where Sarawak is located at the south of the island of Borneo. Some even say that Sabah has the outline of a dog. Other countries that surround Sabah are the Philippines at the north, Brunei at the west and Indonesia at the south of the Borneo Island.

On the eco-tourism side, Sabah boasts over a hundred seventy two thousand acres of flora and fauna inclusive of birds and marine reserves, over two million acres of jungle sanctuaries, and six hundred fifty four thousand acres of wild gardens, including coral reefs, which are all appropriately well maintained by the national administration organisations (Sabah 2010). According to Hector Ceballos-Lascurain (2008), ecotourism consultant to the United Nations, the recent discoveries will auxiliary reinforce Sabah’s rank as a superior ecotourism destination. A marketing strategy is a means by which you explain how the marketing objectives will be achieved. The marketing tactics, on the other hand, are the working and communication tools of the marketing strategies. These marketing tactics are the ones which also costs the money in a marketing plan. A strategy is in majority all about theory while tactics take these theories and turn them into actions. In order for these strategies to be successful, careful strategizing must be thought of to avoid any mishaps or misunderstanding. Both strategies and tactics consequently are very much part of the plan and they must make everyone be involved in the plan.

The strategy or strategies decided upon will become the vital lynch pin of the whole marketing plan. For the past few years, there has been an increasing amount of tourists from the West such as Europe and America and north eastern countries such as Japan and Korea that are coming into the south eastern countries to escape the cold weather and to enjoy the warm sun of the south eastern countries. Not only that, but maybe to also enjoy a better cultural experience. In a recent study survey in 2012, it was founded that Malaysia took the 9th spot in the top 10 international most visited country, right behind China which is ranked 3rd most visited Asian country. It is because of this better liking for a better cultural experience that Asian countries provide that attracts people from the west. In the Asian tourism industry, Malaysia has managed to earn a ranking in the top 10 most visited countries because of the diverse cultures available, vast amounts of cultured/fusion food and different sight-seeing spots among other competitive Asian countries. Malaysia has earned its global popularity among both Western and Eastern countries

Rationale
Despite Malaysia’s tourism slow but steady climb up the ladder of tourism, little is known about the marketing strategies behind the scenes in making Malaysia one of the popular tourist destinations. According to (Dibb, Simkin, Pride, Ferrell 2001), it is not just about the marketing strategy that we need to only take into consideration but all marketers must also focus on several marketing tasks: marketing opportunity analysis, target market selection, marketing mix development and finally effective marketing management. Therefore, in order to find out in more detail of the marketing strategies, we must also look at the other factors that marketing strategies might affect. In doing so, other countries wanting to promote their land are able to learn the secrets behind Malaysia marketing strategies and establish a better insight for future planning.

It is the author’s decision and personal interest to study Sabah’s eco-tourism board in order to understand Sabah’s tourism and the marketing strategies adopted to attract tourists from corners of the world. This in turn creates the motivation to study the tourism trends and tourist motivation to travel. The main benefiters of this research paper will be tour agents, tour operators, future researchers, as well as future students.

Aim
The aim of this research paper is to study the marketing strategies set by the Sabah Tourism Board in order to promote the ecotourism in Sabah, Malaysia. Objectives

* To assess the marketing strategies that has been appointed by the Sabah Tourism Board to promote Sabah as a market destination. * To analyse the effectiveness of marketing strategy and how it has impacted the Sabah’s tourism industry. * To investigate how Sabah is promoting itself as an eco-tourism destination The purpose of this study is to find out what the Sabah tourism board has implemented in its marketing strategy in order to promote eco-tourism in Sabah, Malaysia. There have been very few academic researches regarding this topic and an exploratory study was believed to be applicable. The aim of this research paper is to explore the steps taken by the Sabah tourism board in its attempt to promote Sabah as an ecotourism destination by means of marketing strategy

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