KUCHING: An airline is expected to start operating a direct flight between Kuching and Shenzhen, China by the end of this year, said Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg.
He said Shenzhen will be one of the cities to be connected to Kuching through cooperation between the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports and the airline.
“Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah is working together with AirAsia to connect Kuching as a hub to the other cities where they can fly direct to Kuching.
“One of the cities that will be connected to Kuching by end of this year is Shenzhen. There will be direct flight between Kuching and Shenzhen,” he said when opening MetroCity Seafood Garden at Jalan Matang, here, on Wednesday.
Abang Johari said the ministry is also in discussions to reinstate the Kuching-Hong Kong direct flight.
“It was because of limitation in Hong Kong Airport, they gave us very unattractive times to reach Hong Kong. Therefore, there is a bit of reservation on that particular timing,” he said.
Hong Kong Airlines started its Hong Kong-Kuching flight on May 28 last year, but it was suspended on Feb 25.
Stressing that tourism has been identified as an important sector in the state’s economy, Abang Johari said the number of tourist arrivals in Sarawak for the first six months of this year had increased by 150,000 compared to the corresponding period last year.
“This shows that there is an improvement for us in promoting Sarawak, particularly in Kuching because we have an international airport (Kuching International Airport) that can receive big airplanes to come over,” he said.
On the Metrocity New Township, he said the government would ensure facilities surrounding the area are upgraded and help promote it as a tourism spot.
“Talking about tourism, one of the areas that we want to promote is F&B (food and beverage). If we talk about local delicacies like mee kolok and seafood, everybody know they are from Sarawak. That will become part of the attractions.”
Meanwhile, Abang Johari said the state government will rebuild the Satok Suspension Bridge.
“The government has decided to build that particular suspension bridge again, just like the original design because it is very attractive and historical. The construction will start end of this year,” he said.
Aside from being a tourist attraction, Abang Johari said the Satok Suspension Bridge and nearby Tun Abdul Rahman Yakub Bridge will help tourists visit Medan Niaga Satok and MetroCity.
“That will be the route that we want to promote and Datuk Abdul Karim will work with the private sector to have a package where Metrocity will be included in our promotion,” he said.