Thursday, August 13

‘Competitive airfares can boost Sibu tourism’

Big bikers making their way to the campus.

Big bikers making their way to the campus.

SIBU: The ‘Visit Sibu Year 2017’ campaign will require more competitive airfares in attracting tourists to come in large numbers.

In pointing this out, Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) deputy chairman Dato Andrew Wong hoped that there would be more choices to enable tourism to grow in the state, particularly here.

He was puzzled over why airfares were not regulated, whereas rates for other modes of public transportation such as taxis had been standardised.

“Does it mean that when we have Visit Sibu Year 2017, the (airlines) will raise (air ticket) prices due to the high demand of people coming to Sibu?

“If that is the case, it defeats the purpose of having a ‘Visit Sibu Year’ campaign,” Wong told reporters yesterday.

“Visit Sibu Year is an initiative by SMC and our concern is if there is a major event here, does it mean that airlines will increase prices (of airfare)?

“This issue has to be resolved. If Visit Sibu Year 2017 is successful, it will not only help Sibu in terms of putting it on the map, but also help in terms of air connectivity.”

Wong was met during the Swan City Ride at University College of Technology Sarawak (UCTS) here, which was held in conjunction with the fifth Sibu Bike Week 2015, where a convoy of 100 big bikers made a stopover at the university.

Among those joining the convoy were Sibu police chief ACP Mohd Kamal Kordi, SMC acting secretary Morshidi Fredrick and Razz Chopper Motor Club president Abdul Razak Abdul Salam.

Councillor Jimmy De Rozario @ Abdul Rahman who also heads UCTS human capital department; and UCTS senior manager (corporate and marketing) Lu Yew King were among those welcoming the bikers.

Citing an example, Wong said it was costly to fly from Kota Kinabalu to here.

Hence, he opined that there was a need for the skies to be opened up towards providing more options and hoped that the Transport Ministry could look into the matter.

On the bike week, he praised it for being one of the events that could help promote this town as a tourism destination.

About 1,300 bikers took part in the event.

On this, he remarked that this town was a good venue to hold events due to good logistics.

“Here, the bikers can conveniently park their machines and walk over to the town square or to their hotels,” Wong said.

Earlier, UCTS senior manager and head of administration and finance Mohd Shariffiri Mohd Yusuf described this as ‘a historic moment’.

He hoped that this event would not only double as a platform to make this town an attractive place to visit, but also to motivate the younger generation to pursue their passion.