Early preparations to welcome inaugural Hong Kong Airlines’ flight

Talib (right) places the promotional sticker on one of the taxis while being assisted by Sarawak Tourism Board chief executive officer Datu Ik Pahon (fourth left).

Talib (right) places the promotional sticker on one of the taxis while being assisted by Sarawak Tourism Board chief executive officer Datu Ik Pahon (fourth left).

KUCHING: Preparations are underway, led by the Ministry of Tourism and Sarawak Tourism Board, to welcome passengers on onboard the inaugural Hong Kong Airlines’ direct flight to Kuching at Kuching International Airport on May 28.

Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) chairman Datuk Talib Zulpilip said the carrier was scheduled to arrive at Kuching International Airport on May 28 and return to Hong Kong on the same day.

“We have to carry out early preparations for at least a month before the plane lands here to ensure the local tourism players are aware and ready to receive these visitors from Hong Kong,” said Talib during the handing over of the Hong Kong-Kuching direct flight promotional stickers to four taxi associations yesterday.

He believed with the arrival of thousands of tourists from the twice weekly direct flights would bring about a ripple economic effect to the state’s tourism industry, hoteliers, restaurants and businesses.

Prior to receiving the promotional stickers, a total of 45 taxi drivers were made to attend a short course on tourism due to their role as front-liners in the industry, said Talib.

He added that when overseas or local tourists visited Sarawak, they were bound to take a taxi, which was why the tourism course for taxi drivers was a vital ingredient to ensure the success of the state’s tourism industry.

He hoped other airlines such as Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) and AirAsia would consider starting their own packages in providing direct flights to Hong Kong or any other international destinations.

“We also hope that direct flights will also be made available to Sibu in the near future. For now, we start with Kuching to see how it goes,” said Talib who is Barisan Nasional candidate for Jepak in the coming state election.

Yesterday also saw the launch of promotional stickers for the annual Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) 2016 scheduled for Aug 5 to 7 at the Sarawak Cultural Village.

“RWMF is a music festival known worldwide and is recognised as among the top 25 international music festivals by ‘Songlines’ a renowned world music magazine based in the United Kingdom for sixth consecutive years,” he added.

Among the highlights of the festival this year would be a concert featuring 18 bands from around the world and Borneo to share their culturally rich music.

Among the confirmed groups would be Teada from Ireland, Pat Thomas and Kwashibu Area Band (Ghana), 1Drum.org (Malaysia), Broukar (Syria), Derek Gripper (South Africa), Shanren (China) and Torgeir Vassvik (Norway).

Apart from the nightly performances, there will be informative and interactive afternoon workshops which revolve around the theme of ethno-musical significance.