Thursday, June 20

‘Direct air links key to boosting Miri tourism’

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Kim Shin (seventh right) hands over the proposal letter for AirAsia to Khoi Yun at the MCCCI meeting.

Kim Shin (seventh right) hands over the proposal letter for AirAsia to Khoi Yun at the MCCCI meeting.

MIRI: This ‘Resort City’ is in dire need of good air connectivity to attract more domestic and international tourists.

In acknowledging this, Assistant Minister of Tourism Datuk Lee Kim Shin believed that direct aviation links between this city and other major hubs like Kuala Lumpur or Shenzhen and Guangzhou in China could help boost the local economy.

Moreover, he said the airlines companies had a major role to play in this regard.

“Currently, many have lamented the long-haul flights, especially when travelling abroad in which frequent travellers have to use transit flights either via Kota Kinabalu or Kuala Lumpur.

“Our main concern is that such travels waste a lot of time and money — it is really not efficient for business travellers,” he said when met after attending a meeting with officials from Miri Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) yesterday.

Kim Shin, who had approached Malindo Air regarding this matter, also revealed that the airlines company had agreed to provide a once daily return flight plying the Kuala Lumpur-Miri route, beginning this July 1.

“I am happy with the response given by the airlines company, and that this shall be the beginning of better air connectivity between Miri and other places,” he said.

Additionally Kim Shin, who is also Assistant Minister of Land and Air Transportation and Safety, had proposed for MCCCI to establish a sub-committee slated for tackling tourism issues here.

“The MCCCI tourism sub-committee’s role will be compiling information for and tendering proposals to Sarawak Tourism Board (STB). They will also be highlighting key issues that need action. In this aspect, I will be representing MCCCI to urge STB on making the necessary planning and organising events that shall benefit Miri.”

On his part, MCCCI chairman Lee Khoi Yun had sought Lee’s assistance in approaching AirAsia and proposing for the low-cost carrier to set up direct flight route between Miri and Shenzhen.

“The flight time between Miri and Shenzhen is estimated at three hours. However due to non-connecting flight servicing these two places, many have no choice but to transit via KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) or KKIA (Kota Kinabalu International Airport).

“Therefore, we hope that AirAsia would be attentive to our proposal and give it (Kuching-Shenzhen direct flight) a try here,” Khoi Yun said.