KUCHING: The addition of three new Malaysian Airlines’ (MAS) flights from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, Osaka’s Kansai Airport and Seoul’s Incheon Airport to Kuching next year is hoped to increase the arrival of tourists from both Japan and South Korea.
Sarawak Tourism Board chief executive officer Dato Rashid Khan said the state was looking into doubling the number of tourist arrivals compared to the total number last year.
“Last year, Sarawak saw around 10,000 tourists from Japan, and with the launch of these flights next year, we are looking at doubling the number,” said Rashid.
The flights, which will fly to Kuching via Kota Kinabalu, will commence in mid January next year.
Rashid, who was speaking at a press conference in conjunction with a familiarisation trip of Japanese and Korean agents to Kuching, said tourism industry players will need to assist MAS by taking proactive steps in tourism promotion.
“Apart from the session today, STB will organise a 10-day tourism promotion in Tokyo, Osaka and Seoul involving 15 local representatives comprising tour operators, hoteliers and restaurant operators.
“The delegates will promote the state during the roadshows and we hope that the promotion will expose the state to the crowd over there and hopefully the delegates will meet and seal deals with their counterparts,” he said.
On another matter, Rashid pointed out that due to scheduled charters from Korea earlier this year, arrivals from the country to the state increased fourfold compared to a similar period last year.
This, according to him, also led to a 6 per cent increase up to June over the same period last year.
He also revealed that STB would be launching a six-month campaign on Sarawak’s integrated packages on October 19 in Singapore.
The packages according to him is in line with STB’s plan to lure Singaporeans and foreigners residing in the country to come to Sarawak as the country has direct flights to the state via MAS, SilkAir, AirAsia and Tiger Airways.
Meanwhile, MAS Osaka senior passenger sales representative Hiroyuki Tanaka said that tourism players will need to come up with good brochures and advertisement to make the offering more visible.
“While we had operated the Narita-Kuching flight some 10 years ago, we sure need to restart the promotion effort for better exposure,” said Tanaka.
Seven travel agents from Osaka are in Kuching at the moment to have an insight of what Sarawak has to offer while 25 travel agents from Tokyo and Seoul came earlier this month.
The first quarter until June this year saw the arrival of 4,223 tourists from Japan and 2,540 arrivals from Korea.
Also present yesterday was MAS area manager Edmund A M.