Sabah confident of getting 2.93 million tourists this year

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is confident that it will achieve the target of 2.93 million in tourist arrivals this year despite facing various challenges, particularly the flight rationalisation exercise carried out by Penerbangan Malaysia Bhd.

Sabah state Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Masidi Manjun said as air transportation was a critical factor in the development of Sabah’s tourism sector, his ministry would further enhance their promotional efforts in markets that offer direct flight service to Sabah such as South Korea and China.

“My ministry will also continue to closely cooperate and continue to provide support to other airline companies to encourage them to increase their flights or provide special charter services to Sabah.

“My ministry, through the Sabah Tourism Board, have also taken special measures via the Aviation Hub Strategy and identified five main regional airports that offer direct flights to Kota Kinabalu as the go-between airports, namely in Kuala Lumpur, Bandar Seri Begawan, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea,” he said when winding up his ministry’s debate at the Sabah State Legislative Assembly here yesterday.

Masidi also said with the absence of a direct flight between Tokyo and Kota Kinabalu, the STB has placed Hong Kong, Singapore dan Seoul as the alternative route to Kota Kinabalu. Through close cooperation with three main tourist agencies in Japan, namely HIS Travel, Japan Travel Bureau (JTB) and SMI Holidays, it expects to market Sabah in the Japanese market using the Cathay Pacific airline company.

For the Australian market meanwhile, he said the STB had drafted a special promotional plan together with the Singapore Airlines and promoted the special flight packages to Singapore and Kota Kinabalu during a recent exhibition in Perth.

He said the efforts taken had proved to be positive with the rise in the number of packages ordered. — Bernama

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